By Alyssa Schnugg
Gov. Tates Reeves announced Tuesday afternoon that Mississippi schools will remain closed for the rest of the semester.
“Learning will continue,” Reeves said.
Students in Oxford and Lafayette County have been doing distance learning from home using video conference calls. Most students were provided a laptop or iPad if they did not have one at home to do their work.
Reeves said he will seek guidance from the Mississippi Department of Education on whether schools will issue pass/fail or traditional letter grades. He said students who have been doing their work and what is expected of them by their teachers should not be concerned about advancing to the next grade.
He did not address graduation ceremonies; however, he said he will make an announcement in regard to the shelter-at-home mandate within the next two to three days, which will affect where/when graduation ceremonies will be held.
Reeves said some school districts may decide to hold elective summer classes for students who needed additional help or who might not have had access to distance learning.
“We will be making sure every school district is looking at a plan to continue learning,” he said. “We’re going to work hard with our education community.”
Reeves said the decision to close schools likely had the “most impact on slowing down the virus.”
Lafayette County Superintendent Adam Pugh said Reeves’ announcement only mandates that school buildings remain closed.
“This does not suspend the rest of the term,” he stated on social media. “LCSD will continue with distance learning and requirements to finish out the school year. Meals will also continue to be provided to our students at the pick-up locations.”
Pugh said he will calling parents and faculty with more information.
Pugh said more information regarding promotions and graduation will be provided soon and that parents should check the district’s website and social media pages for information.
Oxford School District Superintendent Brian Harvey said he is grateful for the dedication and positivity from the OSD staff, students and parents since schools were closed.
“We are fortunate to have systems in place to reduce learning loss and continue to provide meals during this time,” he said. “Contingency plans are underway for graduation in the event that social distancing protocols do not change for May 15. We will do what is best to protect our community while honoring our graduates. Our leadership team will continue to collaborate and make decisions that benefit our students and their families, employees, and our community. We have more work to do as today’s announcement impacts operations for the end-of-year and summer plans.”