JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s governor said he wants to get as many kids back to school as possible. This comes one day before schools there have to submit their back to school plans.
Gov. Tate Reeves said he feels there is a way to do this and not go all virtual. Reeves emphasized the importance of learning in person, especially for kids who already struggle in school.
He said going to school is also important because it provides mental health services, nutrition and more for students.
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“We are trying to get to a point to get as many kids in a classroom in a safe and responsible way,” Reeves said.
Reeves said he’ll be the first to admit this school year won’t be easy. He said it’s a balancing act between safety and making sure students can learn in any environment, especially for those who struggle and might have trouble with virtual learning.
“That could have not only an impact this year and next but could have an impact on the first and second grader’s life for the rest of their lives and they might never catch up,” he said.
Reeves said he’s already looked over some school district plans. He said he’s happier with some and not as happy with others.
“Distance learning for the entirety of 2020-2021 school year, that is not a plan I am particularly impressed with,” he said.
While Reeves is pushing for in-person learning, other organizations are wanting to slow down a little.
Both the Mississippi chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Mississippi State Medical Association are asking for certain standards before schools reopen.
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The groups are asking to push back the start of school to at least September 1 to give schools more time to plan. They are also asking for mandatory masks inside the school and for all students to have an option for virtual learning for any reason.
Reeves said he is doing the best he can.
“We are talking about making the decision which has the least negative impact and most positive impact on the most possible number of kids in Mississippi,” he said.
Reeves said in-person learning can be safe as long as we ensure kids are wearing masks and teachers are as well.
He will be reviewing the school district’s reopening plans over the weekend and will share his thoughts next week.
As we mentioned, school districts in Mississippi need to submit their back to school plans by Friday.
There are three options to choose from: in-person learning, virtual or a hybrid model which is a combination of online and in-person.
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