JACKSON, Miss. (WMC) - A group of Mississippi teachers and parents are asking the governor to delay the start of school.
The group called Mississippi Teachers Unite held a rally at the State Capital on Friday.
“Mississippi teachers unite, Mississippi parents, unite,” chanted the group.
Several people spoke up during the rally including Erica Jones, president of Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE).
“No one knows better than an educator on how to reopen schools,” said Jones. “Let’s continue to unite, let’s continue to use our voices, and let’s get this right.”
To view Jones full statement click here.
The group is asking teachers to sign a letter that will be sent to Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and legislators. To see the full letter click here.
In the letter, the group asks that the opening of all K-12 schools be delayed until at least after Labor Day.
“COVID-19 is not going away, the virus is real, it is deadly, it is highly contagious, it is spreading rapidly and it is killing people across our state,” said Reeves at the beginning of his briefing Friday.
Reeves said he’s had conversations with the Mississippi Department of Education and is on the same page about schools.
“We all agree that we can not go any longer without our kids learning in classrooms, that’s simply not reasonable, it’s simply not possible,” said Reeves.
When the governor was asked if he would consider delaying the start of school, he said he has considered it, but has not taken any actions.
Southaven Mayor, Darren Musselwhite says he appreciates DeSoto County Schools giving parents the option of in-person learning or distance learning.
In a statement Mayor Musselwhite says,
“It’s extremely important that our children go back to school. Part of education and development is interaction with other people and learning social skills. They also need structure to their day and a daily sense of accomplishment. As we’ve done with every other part of our lives, schools can make adjustments with hygiene and social distancing to return in a manner that minimizes risk. I think Desoto County Schools made a great decision in allowing parents to make the choice between remote learning and traditional classroom learning. Maybe the rest of Mississippi could follow this model.”
We reached out to multiple school districts in Mississippi and only heard back from DeSoto County Schools.
“Many school districts around the country are able to reduce the number of instructional days by incorporating additional minutes in their bell schedule, but Mississippi school districts must meet for a minimum of 180 days of instruction. As a result, school districts in Mississippi often start earlier than school districts in other states. DeSoto County Schools will continue to follow the directions of the Governor and the Mississippi Department of Education.”