MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County School students will be learning from home when classes resume August 31.

In a video posted online, Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray said students will be learning virtually for the foreseeable future due to the pandemic. Teachers will have the option to educate from home or from their classroom.

“It is nothing less than tragic that public health of our children and our community has turned into partisan noise,” Ray said in the video. “Public safety cannot be about politics. It must be about science.”

Ray said they’re determined to return “in-person” when science says the curve has been flattened. He also says the phrase “safe opening” of schools is largely a myth.

“Direction signs of floors, spacing desks, more hand sanitizer and masks cannot make a school safe in a community that’s experiencing triple-digit increases of virus cases,” Ray said.

Back on July 6, SCS released its safe re-entry plan offering parents the choice of choosing remote or in-person learning.

Last week, about 100 teachers and parents protested a potential return to the classroom.

“We have concern for the safety of the students and concern for the safety of the teachers and the administrators and personnel,” school board member Scott McCormick said. “I would rather have an abundance of caution until a vaccine is made.”

Parents like Raphael Collier say they approve of virtual learning, but know it won’t be easy as the classroom comes into their homes.

“Somebody might have to stay at home. Somebody might have to work, but I feel our kids and education and health is more important than anything,” Collier said.