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All Mississippi Public Schools to Close Until At least April 17

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

Schools in Mississippi will be closed until April 17th. Talking through what that practically means, the thought process behind it, and what we are doing to help affected families:

Posted by Tate Reeves on Thursday, March 19, 2020

Gov. Tate Reeves announced Thursday that he is signing an executive order to close public schools until April 17 to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The governor’s announcement can be viewed online here.

Many school districts including Oxford and Lafayette County already decided to cancel next week’s classes through March 27.

As of Thursday morning, the Mississippi State Department of Health confirmed 50 cases; however, those numbers are changing quickly. Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill announced today that there is now one confirmed case in Lafayette County that was not included in the MSDH’s morning update.

Reeves said schools will continue to receive state money and teachers will continue to get paid.

Reeves said he wants students to continue learning and said he will also relax end-of-year testing requirements and school accountability measures. He said the state Board of Education will have “maximum flexibility” to waive rules.

Oxford School District’s Superintendent Brian Harvey released a statement in response to Reeve’s order.

“Our families are facing challenges that are unprecedented, spring sport athletes are heartbroken, our seniors are wondering about their graduation ceremony. I know you have lots of questions and fears, as we all do. Our leadership team has been working since last Thursday to sort through the “what if” scenarios, and will not stop until we are on the other side of this,” he said.

By now, parents should have received communication about OSD’s online learning plans.

“Please know that we do not expect parents to become master educators,” Harvey said. “We do not have this perfected; we are learning alongside you. We simply ask that you help your child continue learning during this closure.”

Yesterday, legislation was passed to allow school district employees to qualify for administrative leave. During this time, only essential staff will be required to continue their carry out duties while students are away, Harvey added.

Parents, faculty and community members can visit oxfordsd.org/covid19 for continuous updates as they unfold.

“We will continue to keep you updated via email, text messaging, mobile app, and social media,” Harvey said. “It’s times like this that we prove we are an A-rated district. We are resilient. We are innovative. We are up to the challenge. We are all in this together.”

Lafayette County School District did not issue a statement at the time this story is posted. When that happens the story will be updated.

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