Teachers group leader says Mississippi’s school plan ‘reckless and irresponsible’

Published 11:31 pm Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The head of a Mississippi teachers’ organization said Gov. Tate Reeves’ plans to delay school in only a handful of counties are “reckless and irresponsible.”

“No one understands students needing to be back in the classroom more than educators do,” said Erica Jones, president of the Mississippi Association of Educators. “We know it’s about much more than academic achievement. We miss our students dearly, and know how badly they need to be back in school buildings.”

“That’s why we’ve asked for a month long hiatus on in-person instruction so we can get a handle on the virus and back in the classroom as quickly as possible, with an assessment at the beginning of September to determine what should occur moving forward.”

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Instead, Reeves announced on Tuesday that he would delay the start of schools in eight Mississippi counties, but only for grades 7 through 12.

“No one is proposing an indefinite hold on going back into buildings,” Jones said. “We are simply requesting a few weeks to lower the number of new COVID cases and develop a plan that ensures every school in every district has the resources they need to get back into buildings safely.”

The Corinth School District, Mississippi’s first school district to reopen, opened its doors last Monday and had already identified six cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The state said those students did not get the virus from school, but instead came to school already infected.

Jones said the governor is not following the advice of medical experts.

“The governor’s plan, in its current form, is reckless and irresponsible,” Jones said. “It ignores the advice of the state’s top medical officials and is putting students and educators and their families at risk.”