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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.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
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Hi: 97° Lo: 78°
Feels Like: 108°
Columbus
Clear
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Hi: 95° Lo: 78°
Feels Like: 110°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 94° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 101°
Starkville
Clear
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Hi: 95° Lo: 76°
Feels Like: 105°
Very hot and very humid conditions linger in our area for our Saturday. However, the heat and humidity start to dwindle a bit as we go into our Sunday and beyond. As a matter of fact below normal high temperatures for this time of year.
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