Poplarville School District Parents/Guardians,
Return to School Plan for August
I know you may be anxiously awaiting for the District to share our restart plan for schools for August. While our plan has not yet finalized by our board, I wanted to provide you with an update on our planning process.
Last week the District’s Leadership Team met and looked at all the considerations for reopening schools in August. Nine committees were then established, with each having a specific focus. Transportation and Maintenance, Child Nutrition and Health, Social and Emotional, Human Resources, Leadership, Fiscal, Activities and Athletics, Communication and Technology, and Academics are the committees that are meeting this week. They will then report the recommendations they have for the 20-21 school year. These committees are made up of administrators, directors, teachers, parents, community members, including health professionals, and even students.
Restart Scheduling Options
Below you will find the guidance given to each Mississippi school district by the Mississippi Department of Education and three options for the District’s schedule.
It is the hope of the Poplarville School District that students can return to school on a traditional schedule. However, we know that many considerations must be addressed before a decision can be made. Therefore, no decision has been made at this time as to which option will be used by the Poplarville School District. Committees will be evaluating each option and determining to what extent the Poplarville School District will implement an option when necessary.
You can view the entire plan from the MDE here:
The Poplarville School District is asking which option you prefer for your child(ren). We believe that our students learn best when they can be engaged in the classroom through in-person instruction. However, we know that we must have options available if it is not possible for all students to attend class.
After our committee meets, and our board approves our plan, we will share a detailed plan for school restart. You can expect this plan by July 14th. This guide will include topics such as screening at home, arriving for school, wearing face coverings when necessary, washing hands regularly, disinfecting schedules, serving breakfast and lunch, purchasing school supplies to reduce sharing between students, limiting campus visitors, and much more.
We will also be providing parent/guardian training for Google Classroom. So be on the lookout for these training opportunities. This training will guide parents as to what to expect if school must go virtual. This training will also give you a peek as to how students will be navigating Google Classroom daily in the classroom.
Waivers from the Mississippi Department of Education
Following the release of the MDE Considerations for Reopening Mississippi Schools, the Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) suspended several policies to give local school districts scheduling flexibility for the 2020-21 school year to deal with the impact of COVID-19.
For the 2020-21 school year, districts may meet the 180-day teaching requirement by implementing one or more of three scheduling options for operating schools: traditional, virtual, or a hybrid of in-person and distance learning.
To help districts develop class schedules, the number of daily instructional hours required has been reduced from 5.5 hours to 4 hours per day.
For high school courses that offer Carnegie unit credits, the 140-hour instructional requirement for one-credit courses and the 70-hour instructional requirement for half-credit courses will be waived if the District develops a plan to ensure students master the course content. The plan must be approved by the local school board and posted on the District’s website by September 30th, 2020.
For more information on the waivers provided by SBE, click on the link below:
I also want to make you aware that the Academic Calendar for the 2020-21 school year will likely be amended. An update to the school calendar will be announced on July 14th, 2020, following school board approval.
The dress code for the 20-21 school year remains unchanged except for the addition of a black polo.
HERE for our Community
Understandably, you want to know soon as to what August will look like for the return to school. Please know that it is difficult to plan for what is 6 weeks away when issues surrounding COVID-19 are changing. The announcements we make are meant to be inclusive, thoughtful, and timely without having to adjust too often. We are also awaiting further guidance from the Mississippi Department of Education.
When I announced our school closure to our staff on March 14th, 2020, I asked for two things. The first was prayers, and the second was grace. If I had to ask for a third, it would be patience. I believe in the educational system we have built at the Poplarville School District, its teachers, our community, and our dedication to our students. We will get through this together. We are HERE for our students.
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