MDE releases considerations for reopening Mississippi schools

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has released the considerations and a possible timeline for the reopening of Mississippi schools. 

In a news release, the MDE stated that a “workgroup of nine superintendents from a diverse range of districts” outlined the key issues that need to be addressed before schools can reopen as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

A document released by the MDE shows that three types of school reopenings are being discussed, each with its own set of challenges that must be addressed. These options include a “traditional schedule” with students returning to classrooms, a “hybrid schedule” which would divide students into two groups to ensure social distancing at schools and a “virtual schedule” which would continue the distance learning methods used to finish the 2019-20 academic year. 

According to the MDE, the document is intended to be used as “a resource and starting point for districts to consider local needs in collaboration with stakeholders.” It will be updated in three-month intervals to adjust to changes with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Local school districts are responsible for designing school schedules that best meet the needs of their communities. School calendars, including the first and last day of school and school holidays, are set at the district level.

Whichever approach is chosen by individual districts, state law requires 180 days of instruction. 

The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) will consider several policies at its regularly scheduled June meeting to give local school districts scheduling flexibility for the 2020-21 school year to deal with the impact of COVID-19. The SBE meeting will be held at 10 a.m. June 11. The meeting can be viewed via livestream at msachieves.mdek12.org.