Governor Tate Reeves announced via live stream on March 19, that he signed an executive order that closes all public schools until April 17.
Reeves said this will give officials a four week period to further evaluate the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Reeves advised that this is not a time for vacations but for continued learning. He praised the innovativeness of education officials who have found ways to help students continue learning. He said that several school districts have resorted to online courses and providing other materials.
Reeves also announced that he plans to relax the state testing requirement, and give maximum flexibility to the Mississippi State Board of Education to ensure they can waive any rules and regulations they may have in place. Reeves also said school districts will get paid, and teachers will be paid their annual salary on time.
He advised that this is not a time to panic. Reeves said, “This is a time to recognize we are in unprecedented, uncharted waters, but we will get through it.”
With Covid-19 presenting a new set of challenges, Simpson County School District is modifying and adjusting plans to serve the students during the time that schools are closed to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Last week students were to contact their schools through the I-Ready program to keep up with class. As it turned out, only 10 percent of students participated utilizing distance learning.
School planners questioned whether all students have internet access in order to stay current on their assignments with some possibly not having internet access at home at all.
The district then responded with another plan of action. On Tuesday, March 24, from 8 a.m. until noon, instructional packets were available for all public school students. K-2 children will have assignments for all classes. Students in grades 3 and above had work packets and assignment by class which could be picked up by parents.
Work in these packets will be due to be turned in by April 7, which gives students two weeks to complete assignments. At that time a new packet will be given with new assignments.
Packets will contain additional information about how to contact teachers if there are questions.
There will also be designated times to contact the schools for assistance in specific subjects. The time for assistance with language arts and social studies will be from 9 a.m. until noon on Monday and Wednesday. Math and social studies assistance will be offered from 9 a.m. until noon on Monday and Thursday. For all other subjects parents may call daily between 9 a.m. and noon.
This process will be detailed on the district webpage at simpson.k12.ms.us. It will also be available on the district’s Facebook page. The notice from the school system indicated that this information will also be available through the district’s one call phone program.