Dear TSCS Families,

I hope this email finds you healthy and well. I am reaching out with several important updates about the start of the school year. 

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL – AUGUST 31
As you have probably heard in the news, this week Shelby County Schools pushed its start date back to August 31 due to Governor Lee’s extension of TN’s state of emergency. As a charter school, we are able to make our own calendar decisions, and we have decided to also have our first day of school on August 31.

20-21 CALENDAR
Please click HERE for an overview of the school year. This is the Shelby County Schools calendar, and it is useful for knowing the first and last days of the school year for students, breaks, and holidays since we share those dates. We will send the Soulsville version of the calendar soon, but with the recent calendar change, we wanted to go ahead and get these dates in your hands.

OUR REOPENING APPROACH – DOING WHAT’S RIGHT – A REMOTE START for QUARTER 1
Like school leaders across the nation, we have spent the summer planning for the multiple scenarios that could have occurred this fall. Now that the fall semester is upon us, what we must do has become clear to us.

Tennessee is under an official state of emergency, Memphis is under an official state of emergency, and we are still under Phase 2 guidance from the Shelby County Health Department, which recommends that schools not open under these conditions. In fact, at this moment, we are also under a county Public Health Directive that includes not opening schools. The number of cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County continues to trend upward. The rise in the percentage of positive cases in Shelby County continues to be disturbing. Recent projections indicate that this scenario will likely get worse before it gets better and that our county will still be in this position when school starts. We hope for positive change and that this is not the case, but we must prepare as if it is since that is where the data currently stands. 

While we long to reopen normally and to have our students back on campus, we must prioritize safety, and the local data around COVID-19 is telling us that it is unwise to have school in-person right now. Also, the majority of our parents favored remote learning over in-person learning in our most recent survey. With all of this in mind and the responsibility to do right by our stakeholders, The Soulsville Charter School has decided that we will have virtual remote learning for the first quarter of the 20-21 school year. This means that there will be no in-person, on-campus instruction at the start of the school year. 

As mentioned in my July 3 communication, “We are excited to announce that every single student of The Soulsville Charter School will be issued a school-owned and school-managed laptop and charger for school this fall. The laptops will have content filtering and tracing software on them, preventing access to harmful content and tracing the location of devices. We will offer student training and parent tips and training for supporting your child in using the device. We look forward to supporting our students on this technological journey this fall!” We will also work with each family to ensure that all students can access learning.

We hope that public health conditions improve rapidly and that we can resume in-person, on-campus instruction as soon as possible. Everyone in our county has to do our part in keeping ourselves and others safe with effective hand washing, not touching faces, social distancing, and wearing masks. 

CHOOSE YOUR PREFERENCE
Again, The Soulsville Charter School has decided that we will have virtual remote learning for the first quarter of the 20-21 school year. This means that there will be no in-person instruction at the start of the school year.

We do, however, hope to have students on campus as soon as it is safe to do so this school year. To that end, we would like to have all of our parents complete the following very brief survey to inform us of your preference for 1)remote (at home) or 2)in-person (on campus) learning after we are able to allow students to attend school in person on campus. We will continually review public health guidance and directives so that we can make the best decisions possible about when it is safe to allow some students to attend school in-person. CLICK HERE to choose. Because we are a charter school, we can make these decisions independently and handle them internally. There is no need to complete anything in PowerSchool (in case you have been seeing communications from our school district about making a selection in PowerSchool).

MORE INFORMATION COMING
Please be on the lookout for another communication within the next couple of weeks informing you of important details around registration, computer pick up, and other details.

ASK A QUESTION
We know that these are uncertain times and things are changing rapidly. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have a question.

Middle School
Thomas Upchurch, Middle School Director
tupchurch@tscsmemphis.org

High School
Maya Robinson, High School Director
mrobinson@tscsmemphis.org

School Office Voicemail
901-261-6366*
*The school voicemail will be checked daily and messages passed along to the appropriate staff member.

Please also continually check the “News” section of our website for recent communications.

IN CLOSING
Safety and high-quality teaching and learning will continue to be our priorities as we serve you this year. As always, we look forward to giving you our best and working hard to make 2020-21 another great school year as we work together to help your children reach their highest potential.