Mississippi eases graduation and third-grade rules for virus

MGN Online

Education leaders in the state eased graduation and other rules as schools combat the coronavirus.

Posted: Mar 26, 2020 4:02 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi's education leaders on Thursday moved to ease the way for seniors to graduate and third graders to move on to fourth grade in the face of schools closed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The state Board of Education already voted last week to halt state standardized tests and to have schools and districts keep their current A-to-F ratings for another year.

Mississippi officials said Thursday that the U.S. Department of Education has indicated it will formally approve Mississippi’s waiver later, as board members suspended more than a dozen laws and rules.

High school students will earn graduation credits for incomplete courses, and seniors will be allowed to graduate this year as long as they meet other district and state requirements. Districts can change graduation requirements, as long as students earn at least 24 core course credits.

High school students will be allowed to graduate without passing end-of-course tests in algebra, biology, English II and U.S history or achieving alternate test scores, as long as they pass the underlying course. That's true even if students aren't seniors but are taking the courses this year.

Thursday, the board also agreed that third graders won’t have to pass a standardized test of reading skills and can advance to fourth grade if they meet other normal requirements. Kindergarten students won’t be administered a dyslexia screener this spring.

Schools won’t have to teach for at least 180 days or 330 minutes a day and students won’t be cited for truancy.

The list of schools and districts that get extra academic aid from the state will stay the same next year, since there won’t be any state tests.

Districts won’t have to submit teacher evaluation data and won’t be cited for failing to maintain required student-teacher ratios or failing to provide licensed teachers. Districts also won’t be cited for failing to educate students in juvenile detention centers as long as they provide similar services to students in detention centers and other students.

College students seeking to become teachers won’t have to meet minimum test scores to enter teacher preparation through the end of 2021, and students seeking to earn teaching licenses this year won’t have to complete 12 weeks of student teaching.

Despite the easing of so many rules, state Superintendent Carey Wright said teachers and administrators are working hard to make sure learning continues.

“Everybody is very committed that this is not time lost for children,” she said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 116617

Reported Deaths: 3283
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7987178
DeSoto713479
Harrison527284
Jackson462285
Rankin398286
Madison383794
Lee360080
Forrest306978
Jones295784
Washington259299
Lafayette251343
Lauderdale2485135
Lamar227138
Oktibbeha202854
Bolivar201977
Neshoba1854111
Lowndes180262
Panola170240
Leflore168787
Sunflower163449
Warren155156
Monroe152173
Pontotoc147920
Marshall145329
Lincoln141157
Pike139256
Copiah138136
Scott125729
Coahoma125437
Grenada122639
Yazoo122634
Simpson121749
Union119225
Tate117739
Leake115242
Holmes114960
Itawamba114825
Pearl River114560
Adams108944
Prentiss106920
Wayne102022
Alcorn101112
George99919
Covington97927
Marion95443
Tippah91323
Newton86927
Chickasaw85726
Hancock85028
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84421
Tishomingo81641
Attala79726
Clarke76151
Clay70021
Jasper69117
Walthall64027
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59917
Smith59616
Montgomery55223
Yalobusha54914
Claiborne53816
Tunica53517
Lawrence52514
Perry49823
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47714
Humphreys44916
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41211
Webster37613
Benton3456
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32715
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27710
Franklin2463
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23443377
Mobile16934315
Tuscaloosa10414140
Montgomery10298197
Madison939496
Shelby743663
Baldwin669469
Lee655065
Calhoun462161
Marshall441150
Etowah431251
Morgan418235
Houston418034
DeKalb346129
Elmore322753
St. Clair299942
Limestone289330
Walker282392
Talladega267435
Cullman250824
Lauderdale231342
Jackson217515
Autauga207431
Franklin206131
Colbert204132
Russell19533
Blount194225
Chilton189332
Dallas187227
Coffee179511
Dale177251
Covington175529
Escambia173030
Clarke135317
Chambers135244
Pike134413
Tallapoosa133087
Marion109729
Barbour10339
Marengo102522
Butler101340
Winston93713
Geneva9167
Lawrence86132
Pickens86018
Bibb84314
Randolph82916
Hale77730
Clay74912
Washington74912
Cherokee74514
Henry7196
Lowndes71428
Bullock64917
Monroe64810
Crenshaw60930
Perry5936
Fayette58413
Cleburne5738
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56113
Macon53720
Lamar5065
Sumter47321
Choctaw39212
Greene34616
Coosa2053
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