Paris, Tenn.–On a split vote, the Paris Special Schools District board decided to delay opening of the 2020-2021 school year to August 17.
The PSSD board met in a rare Saturday special session to discuss this year’s opening as COVID-19 cases continued to climb locally. The board had voted unanimously earlier this week to open August 3.
Some 30 parents and interested citizens were at today’s meeting, which was moved from the PSSD headquarters to the Paris Elementary School to accommodate the size of the crowd and social distancing.
Voting yes to delay opening until August 17 were Board Members Jon Davidson, Troy Barrow, Richard Edwards, Missy Klutts and Amy Cathey. Voting no were John Steele and Bill Jelks. (Cathey attended by phone connection).
Director of Schools Dr. Norma Gerrell noted that the numbers of active cases in Henry County have jumped significantly just since the board met on Wednesday. “Our active cases went up by 50 percent,” she said.
Additionally, the number of students who have signed up for virtual schooling “has just exploded and we’re not ready for that. We have 53 students who have signed up,” she said. The district is waiting for a shipment of ‘hot spots’ which can be used by students who don’t have internet connection. “We also want time for teachers to practice more of the virtual aspect if we need to go to 100 percent virtual. We need to be ready if that happens,” she said.
Opening days for both Henry County and PSSD earlier had been set for August 3, but the county school board earlier this week voted unanimously to delay opening the county district until August 31.
Photo: PSSD Director of Schools Norma Gerrell, left, and board members in discussion at today’s meeting. (Kreg Kyle photo).