Mississippi Closes Schools Until April 17

The Mississippi Department Education held a meeting on Thursday March 19, to discuss school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Chairman Jason Dean said that the meeting was held via teleconference so board members could practice social distancing.

Governor Tate Reeves held a livestream at the same time. The board voted to suspend the meeting until Reeves had finished. Reeves said that the would be signing an executive order today, closing all Mississippi schools until April 17. Reeves said “This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.”

The governor told Mississippians this is not a time for vacations. He urged students to keep learning and to use this time wisely. He then thanked teachers and administrators for all they have done to keep students active while the schools are closed.

Reeves assured Mississippians that the school boards will still receive funding and that teachers will still get their salaries amid the closures. It is unclear what, if anything, is being done to help substitute teachers that are employed by staffing agencies, rather than school districts.

Reeves also said that he was giving the authority to the state board of education to waive state and federal testing for the 2019/2020 school year.

Chairman Dean called for a vote to approve that Mississippi waive state testing. The board will need to file a waiver to forgo the required federal testing. Members voted unanimously to file the waiver.

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