MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The coronavirus pandemic forced education leaders across the Mid-South to cancel schools for the rest of the year, but one private school in Shelby County plans to reopen next week.
Administrators at Christ Trinity Christian Academy sent a letter to parents, announcing their plan to reopen their preschool and elementary departments on Monday, April 27.
But parents we spoke to say they are not happy with that decision.
“I feel like that would be crazy for us to go back,” one parent told WMC Action News 5.
The parent, who wished to remain anonymous, has children under 5 who go to Christ Trinity Christian Academy, which has three locations.
In the letter to parents, dated April 19, school administrators said Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s recommendation to remain closed wasn’t mandated as law. Therefore, they said the school would reopen and practice social distancing.
“Our school programs are significantly smaller than the Shelby County School system and are therefore able to practice social distancing and maintaining classrooms of 10 or less,” the letter said. “We will continue our safe practices of cleaning, sanitizing and the washing of hands. Sanitizing stations will be placed in the school lobby.”
School administrators said staff would wear gloves and masks “to ensure that they are not passing along any germs to our students and parents” and said children who are sick won’t be allowed to attend school. They also said parents would not be allowed into the building and would have to meet at the door to drop off or pick up their child.
“I just think that it’s not a good idea and there’s no way you can practice social distancing with three-year-olds,” said the concerned parent. “They’re going to want to hug; they’re going to want to touch; they’re going to pick up things that other kids have had and there’s no way that you can get a handle on that and be able to spray down and wipe down everything that every single child has before another child has the opportunity to come and touch it as well.”
The parent WMC spoke to on Wednesday, said her kids won’t be returning and said other students shouldn’t either until it’s safe for everyone.
“My kids will not be put in danger for that. I’ll sit at home, I may not be able to teach them as well as they would be learning at school, but I’ll just do my best and I’d rather take my chances that way,” the parent said.
WMC Action News 5 reached out to school administrators for comment but did not receive any response.
WMC also alerted the City of Memphis about what was going on and to see if the school reopening violates any social distancing city order. The mayor’s office told WMC the school isn’t located within the city limits.
WMC then checked with the Shelby County mayor’s office and have not yet heard back.
Dr. Bruce Randolph with the Shelby County Health Department released the following statement Wednesday:
“The Shelby County Health Department will notify Christ Trinity Christian Academy that if it reopens on Monday, April 27, 2020, it will be in violation of the Health Department’s Public Health Directive issued April 4, 2020, which directed all citizens not engaged in essential businesses to shelter in place until the Health Directive is lifted.”
A representative for Christ Trinity Christian Academy also released this statement Wednesday:
To view the letter to parents, click here.