What will school look like for 21-22?

What will school look like for 21-22?
Posted on 05/21/2021
ACS Families,

What a year it has been! It was just ten months ago that we released the Reopen ACS plan to our stakeholders – a 20-page document that wasn’t exactly the “Back to School” message I was hoping to send to you. Despite all the health protocols, quarantines, remote learning and other challenges we faced, I can’t express my thanks and gratitude enough to our school board members, employees, students and families for coming together as a school community to have a successful year. It wasn’t a normal year by any stretch of the imagination, but a lot of good still happened!

We continued to prioritize academics by expanding our 1:1 iPad program to all grades K-12 and by investing in state-of-the-art programming like the AHSTEMHub. Our Fine & Performing Arts programs were once again recognized statewide and nationally, including being named one of the Best Communities for Music Education for the 2nd consecutive year and countless other recognitions from All State & All West recipients to Winter Guard International Finalists! Tiger Athletics also roared: the AMS Boys and AHS Girls & Boys Soccer teams won their league championships, AHS Lady Softball clinched the District Championship, AHS Girls Basketball advanced to State, AHS Wrestling dominated the District and Regionals and AHS added a new State Swimming Champion…just to name a few. Last and certainly not least, our employees voted ACS the #3 Top Workplace in the Memphis-Metro region – the only school district to place in the Top 3 – in the midst of extraordinary circumstances.

We did all of this (and a lot more) without having to shut down schools once due to COVID-19! The “snowpocalypse” aside, our doors were open the entire year thanks to our nurses, Safety Compliance Assistants, all other employees, school board members, students, parents and everyone in our school community for doing their part to prioritize the safety and education of our children.

Now it’s time to look ahead to 2021-2022! Below is a high-level overview of our plans for next school year. Of course, as we move closer to August, we will notify you if there are any significant changes to the plans below via email and on the ACS website.

What will school look like next year?

Return to Full Capacity, 5-Days a Week

We’re pleased to announce that all schools will return to full capacity in August 2021. Arlington High School will also transition from the hybrid schedule to five-day-a-week instruction and resume the block schedule. We’re excited to welcome back all students to our campuses five days a week in August!

Virtual Learning

There will be no virtual or remote learning in the 2021-2022 school year. The Tennessee Department of Education recently announced that remote learning will only be allowed if the governor declares a state of emergency or if a district applies to open a virtual-only school. While Arlington Online certainly served an important purpose this school year for about 15% of our families, we believe in-person learning is in the best interest of students academically and will make school spirit even stronger.


We’re cognizant that some students enrolled in Arlington Online may have underlying health conditions that will make it difficult to return to the classroom. If you have a child with a severe medical condition that could be impacted by COVID-19, homebound learning may be an option for you. Please note: the student must have a medical condition (confirmed by a physician) to apply for homebound learning. You may apply for homebound learning by contacting ACS Students Services at 901-389-2497.

Health & Safety Standards

Despite our full return to the classroom, we won’t cut corners when it comes to keeping our buildings clean. Next year’s budget includes the continuation of Safety Compliance Assistants at each building to ensure the safety measures we’ve put into place are followed. Our cleaning services provider, SKB, will also bring back the “Red Shirt Custodian” who will be in charge of regularly disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and serve as a visible reminder of sanitation efforts.

We will also continually keep hand sanitizer stations stocked in each classroom, utilize Clorox 360º machines as needed and teach the importance of respecting personal boundaries. In addition to the HVAC filter upgrades we made earlier this school year, the ACS Operations Department is identifying more ways to improve the air quality in our buildings that they will implement this summer.

As we announced last week, the wearing of face masks will be optional for all students and employees next school year. We want to reiterate that wearing or not wearing a face mask is a personal decision; students and employees are expected to respect the personal choices of their peers.

Finally, we will monitor all health updates over the summer, such as the management of positive cases, and will notify families of any significant changes prior to school starting in August via email and on the ACS website.

Breakfast & Lunch

Thanks to the USDA, breakfast and lunches will be FREE to all students once again next year. At this time, our expectation is that students will eat in the cafeterias and that cafés will be fully operational.

Sports, Clubs, Extra-Curricular Events

With the return of all students, we expect and can’t wait to see ALL sports, clubs and extra-curricular events make their comeback in the 2021-2022 school year! As always, we will follow the guidance from TSSAA for applicable sports.

Thank you again for the support and grace you have shown us this school year. I hope you and your family enjoy the much-needed and deserved summer break!

Jeff Mayo, ACS Superintendent