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: 64400

Reported Deaths: 1825
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5416112
DeSoto347227
Madison236360
Harrison228735
Rankin220231
Jackson215641
Jones182857
Forrest170155
Washington154835
Lauderdale137990
Lee129732
Neshoba126490
Lamar117713
Oktibbeha107737
Lowndes102333
Bolivar101032
Warren99531
Scott97820
Panola96012
Sunflower94223
Copiah92928
Lafayette90714
Leflore88261
Pike86133
Holmes85948
Grenada81921
Yazoo80312
Lincoln78741
Pontotoc7808
Leake77625
Simpson76730
Wayne74921
Monroe73151
Coahoma68410
Tate68327
Marion63419
Marshall6169
Covington60313
Adams59625
Winston59315
Union55215
George5454
Newton53011
Pearl River51537
Tallahatchie51210
Attala51024
Walthall48219
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee43811
Claiborne39913
Calhoun3929
Smith38913
Clay38014
Jasper3799
Alcorn3775
Prentiss3699
Hancock34914
Tishomingo3445
Itawamba32310
Clarke32225
Tippah32013
Tunica3076
Yalobusha30410
Lawrence3027
Montgomery3023
Humphreys28111
Carroll24811
Quitman2381
Greene23011
Kemper22715
Jefferson Davis2256
Perry2207
Amite2176
Webster21112
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson19313
Sharkey1913
Stone1603
Choctaw1294
Benton1280
Franklin1152
Issaquena241
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 91776

Reported Deaths: 1639
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson12186230
Mobile9269204
Montgomery6350148
Madison512227
Tuscaloosa400269
Baldwin332223
Shelby311932
Marshall300134
Unassigned287856
Lee255442
Morgan227015
Etowah196728
DeKalb172113
Elmore163337
Calhoun162713
Walker147964
Houston133412
Dallas129823
Russell12672
St. Clair125214
Limestone122713
Franklin121520
Cullman117112
Colbert112213
Lauderdale111113
Autauga103021
Escambia98115
Talladega94613
Jackson8904
Chambers83238
Tallapoosa82778
Dale79823
Butler75435
Blount7453
Chilton7386
Coffee7255
Covington71620
Pike6727
Barbour5645
Lowndes56124
Marion54724
Marengo52914
Clarke4919
Hale45926
Bullock44411
Winston43511
Perry4324
Wilcox41110
Monroe3964
Randolph39210
Bibb3844
Pickens3769
Conecuh37310
Sumter36018
Lawrence3251
Macon31613
Washington31512
Crenshaw3073
Choctaw27612
Cherokee2497
Greene24711
Henry2473
Geneva2430
Clay2255
Lamar2052
Fayette1785
Cleburne1211
Coosa952
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