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.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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