A deadline of Friday was set for school districts across the state to submit their reopening plans to Governor Tate Reeves and the Mississippi Department of Education.
During his press briefing on Thursday, Governor Reeves said he plans to spend the weekend reviewing all submitted plans and will address the state next week.
In the meantime, he offered the following:
I just came across this quote from the head of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Robert Redfield, and felt I had to share it. It neatly articulates the way I am trying to think about schools:
“It’s not the risk of school openings versus public health. It’s public health versus public health. And I’m of the point of view that the greater risk to the nation is actually to keep these schools closed. You know, a lot of kids get their mental health services, over 7 million, in school. A lot of people get food and nutrition in schools. Schools are really important in terms of mandatory reporting sexual and child abuse. Obviously, the socialization is important. And, obviously, for some kids, I think actually a majority of kids, their learning in a face-to-face school is the most effective method of teaching. That said, it has to be done safely, and it has to be done with the confidence of the teachers. It has to be done with the confidence of parents.”
I just got the full list of school re-opening plans. I am going to step away this weekend and review every single one of them. It will take a long time, but it will be worth it. We have to do this right.
In my mind, there are two major ways to get this wrong. You could ignore or dismiss the risk of the virus. You could also ignore or dismiss the severe risk of extended school closures. There is no way to eliminate the risk of either. We have to minimize the risk of both.
This pandemic means we can’t do things the way we’ve always done them. And we can’t wait until it’s safe to do things the way we’ve always done them to provide in-person teaching. At least as an option! We have to be creative and innovative.
I look forward to talking about the plans in more detail after a lot of research this weekend. We have to get this right. Stay safe and God bless, Mississippi.