Starkville Oktibbeha School District delays start of school

MGN Online

The Starkville Oktibbeha School District has delayed the first day of school for students to Aug. 24.

Posted: Jul 31, 2020 5:11 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) - The Starkville Oktibbeha School District has delayed the first day of school for students to Aug. 24.

Teachers will return on Aug. 17.

“I have wrestled with this decision for several days as parents have requested a transition to virtual learning for their students at a rapidly increasing pace,” Superintendent Eddie Peasant said. “It is difficult to keep track of the number of daily requests.”

Many school districts across the state are delaying the start of their fall semesters as COVID-19 cases remain high in Mississippi.

Peasant addressed a letter to parents Friday. Read the full statement below.

"Dear Parents,

The first day of school for students in the Starkville Oktibbeha School District is delayed until August 24.

Teachers will return to their classrooms on August 17.

I have wrestled with this decision for several days as parents have requested a transition to virtual learning for their students at a rapidly increasing pace. It is difficult to keep track of the number of daily requests.

After calculating the numbers today, our schools have processed more than 1,000 requests to switch to virtual learning since July 21. That's 20 percent of our students. And it's in addition to the 2,000 students who originally requested a virtual model for their preferred learning option.

As we began planning to offer multiple learning options for students as early as May, we were prepared to accommodate up to 25% of our families through virtual learning. Since mid-July, the number of students in our school district choosing a virtual/hybrid learning model has increased from around 30 percent to more than 40 percent.

Our schools need the additional time to prepare. We do not have the capacity to offer live or recorded virtual instruction to 40-plus percent of our students.

The increase in virtual students has also required us to shift traditional teachers to virtual teachers which is creating challenges as we limit in-person class size to achieve even a minimum of 3 feet of distance in some of our classrooms.

We will use the next two weeks to train a core group of teachers who will build instructional learning modules to share with their colleagues. This core group of teacher trainers will be deployed to work with teachers at each school when they return to their classrooms on August 17.

With a teacher start date of August 17, teachers will have an additional day to prepare prior to students arriving. I have asked MDE for a waiver to reduce the 180 day requirement, but at this time, MDE is not granting those requests. The year ahead is extremely uncertain, but if we are required to fulfill a 180 DAY calendar, school will extend into June.

In March, I committed to protecting the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. That commitment includes adequately preparing our teachers to return to the classroom during a pandemic and it requires training on new safety protocols and training in a new digital teaching environment. Both are also essential to providing a safe, healthy learning environment for our students.

The reality is our teachers are reluctantly returning to classrooms, and our parents are reluctantly sending their children into our classrooms as positivity rates for Covid-19 continue to climb in our state and in our community.

This is a difficult time for all of us, and it will only become more difficult if we fail our teachers, staff, students and families with a premature return to the classroom.

Schedule distribution planned at SHS, AJH, and PMS, along with open house events scheduled at elementary schools, for the week of August 3 will be delayed two weeks. Your children's schools will be sharing additional information in the coming days.

I sincerely appreciate your support as we continue to navigate this unknown season.

We'll get through this together.

Dr. Peasant"

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110592

Reported Deaths: 3171
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7731171
DeSoto655177
Harrison478481
Jackson429178
Rankin380086
Madison371092
Lee339279
Forrest292777
Jones281682
Washington250697
Lafayette241342
Lauderdale2329130
Lamar212038
Bolivar197775
Oktibbeha194154
Neshoba1795111
Lowndes173662
Panola164736
Leflore158786
Sunflower156749
Warren151854
Monroe143672
Pontotoc143019
Pike135555
Lincoln133954
Copiah133336
Marshall130026
Coahoma122836
Scott122729
Grenada119637
Simpson117648
Yazoo116933
Union113825
Holmes113060
Tate112339
Leake111839
Itawamba108724
Pearl River107456
Adams104042
Prentiss100919
Wayne97921
Alcorn94412
George93217
Marion92642
Covington90825
Tippah84820
Newton84227
Chickasaw81724
Tallahatchie81725
Winston81421
Tishomingo78640
Hancock76527
Attala76325
Clarke70948
Clay66621
Jasper66016
Walthall63427
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith57716
Claiborne53016
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence48914
Yalobusha47914
Perry47522
Carroll45812
Greene44717
Stone44614
Amite41513
Quitman4096
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39311
Webster36313
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31615
Benton3004
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26210
Franklin2283
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 152272

Reported Deaths: 2621
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22300372
Mobile14273314
Tuscaloosa9886132
Montgomery9615196
Madison895192
Shelby700260
Lee643066
Baldwin636967
Marshall425348
Calhoun408459
Etowah399149
Morgan393232
Houston362332
DeKalb313326
Elmore308152
St. Clair276742
Limestone268327
Walker264192
Talladega253634
Cullman223923
Lauderdale204340
Autauga198928
Franklin198131
Jackson197914
Russell18993
Colbert188927
Dallas184527
Blount182723
Chilton178731
Escambia170328
Covington164429
Coffee16299
Dale161551
Pike130112
Tallapoosa126986
Chambers126643
Clarke126116
Marion103929
Butler99640
Barbour9819
Marengo96421
Winston88613
Geneva8297
Pickens79317
Randolph79314
Lawrence78830
Bibb78513
Hale73729
Cherokee71414
Clay70312
Lowndes69827
Bullock63417
Henry6286
Monroe6259
Washington62012
Crenshaw58830
Perry5796
Conecuh55413
Wilcox55412
Fayette54012
Macon52819
Cleburne5207
Sumter46421
Lamar4555
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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