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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: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848137

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164052005
Mobile743681384
Madison53497738
Shelby38435371
Baldwin38195589
Tuscaloosa36152644
Montgomery34562782
Lee25655264
Calhoun22630520
Morgan22530411
Etowah20069520
Marshall18846318
Houston17777426
St. Clair16958359
Limestone16195220
Cullman16157306
Elmore15940295
Lauderdale15069307
Talladega14260302
DeKalb13083271
Walker12168380
Blount10779193
Autauga10560157
Jackson10214196
Coffee9435192
Colbert9366210
Dale9044192
Tallapoosa7285202
Russell710065
Chilton7090170
Covington6969197
Escambia6967144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5801142
Marion5437132
Dallas5302210
Pike5129109
Clarke485786
Lawrence4850130
Winston4793110
Geneva4655136
Bibb435795
Barbour370680
Butler3444101
Marengo342993
Monroe338366
Randolph337867
Pickens334890
Fayette331785
Henry321166
Cherokee320364
Hale319189
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252969
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141840
Sumter139841
Greene130545
Choctaw94428
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A strong incoming front ensures that Monday starts off wet & stormy. In the wake of this cold front, a sizable drop in temperatures will follow during the day.
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