Governor says he will issue executive order Tuesday regarding reopening of schools

Published 11:55 am Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves is set to sign an executive order Tuesday regarding the reopening of schools across the state.

He posted the following message on Facebook Monday evening:

I spent the last three days reading 598 pages of school reopening plans. Every letter of them. I’ve been studying the plans and health data down to the minuscule detail—and praying a lot. Tomorrow, we will have an announcement regarding the return to school for Mississippi kids.

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We’re still finalizing the plans, but here’s how I’m thinking about them: we have to balance the very real risk of more community spread and the devastating life impact of extended school closures.

‪We know that young children are at far less risk than any other population of damage from the virus. It’s certainly no more than other sicknesses they may catch in schools. The public health question is whether schools serve as vectors and cause rampant community spread.‬

Therefore, as all public health experts have said, we need to think of youngest kids as different than older kids. They are much less likely to spread the virus and far more likely to suffer from school closures.

‪We also need to recognize that not every district can be treated the same. They all have different staff, resource, and population considerations. Local school districts are still the best-equipped entities to manage the details of local school decisions. ‬

‪I read every plan and I feel confident saying that we are not deciding between chaos and blanket mandates. There are exceptions to every rule, but most schools are trying hard to provide a safe environment. They are considering the guidelines that health experts have provided.‬

‪I’ve said it before and I will say it again: we cannot ignore the severe damage that extended school closures do to kids. I know that these days the public conversation favors noise over nuance—but this is nuanced. ‬

With all that said, after reading every school’s reopening plans I do think there is cause for an executive order tomorrow—to help us manage our hardest-hit areas and mitigate the risk of education.

Our health experts at MSDH are on board. It’s all about preventing as much damage as possible. We are working out the details now, and will announce tomorrow at our 2:30 press conference.