The first day of school for students in Washington County is only a few weeks away, but there is still a lot of uncertainty, and plenty of opinions, about how and when school should begin.
In the Greenville Public School District, a special called Board of Trustees meeting will take place this Thursday at Melissa Manning Elementary School. Board members at this meeting will discuss and review all plans for reopening school. As of now, the 2020-21 school year has been scheduled to start Aug. 5.
Other school boards throughout the county are also making plans and contingencies about how to open up safely for both their students and their faculty members.
Western Line School District is planning to re-open with a hybrid schedule. The district will offer a mixture of face-to-face instruction as well as distance learning. Western Line’s plan was created using information from the Center for Disease Control, state, and federal government guidelines. Western Line School District will also accommodate students on a case-by-case basis.
St. Joseph Catholic School is set to begin Aug. 10. Per Catholic Diocese of Jackson guidelines, students at St. Joseph will be required to wear masks, class sizes will be limited and social distancing will be adhered to.
School boards in the county have asked parents, in surveys, their opinions on the issue of how and when schools should open.
In the Greenville Public School survey, close to 70% of parents and stakeholders were in favor of strictly online only teaching for the 2020-2021 school year.
In a recent survey of more than 400 readers conducted by the Delta Democrat-Times, 46% of readers said they were against returning to school in August and the students should learn online; 19% of readers said school should open up with face masks and social distancing; 16% of readers said school should open with a modified schedule; and 9% of readers said school should open without restrictions.
A Delta Democrat-Times post on Facebook received more than 500 comments with many strong opinions from parents on both sides of the issue. A sampling of these views are below:
* “We need to go back to school. School is more than books and lectures. The social and active part of school helps our well being! And we should not live in fear! That’s not living. There are many other reasons why we should go and go back to normal.” — Louise Word
* “No because this virus is getting way worse and the numbers are extremely high. Kids are going to be kids playing around with each other sneezing and touching one another. There is no way the teachers will be able to contain the germs flowing around, some may act accordingly, but we all know some teachers do not abide by the rules. I fully agree the kids should not go back, there are lives at risk.” — Kanesha Hoskins
* “No. First, because there is no way they are going to be able to have 10 kids to a classroom. There is no room and they are already complaining of a teacher shortage. Secondly, people send kids to school sick with the flu. So sending them with covid systems wont be any different. Thirdly, I’m not making my kid wear a mask.” — Rebecca Wicker
* “Yes. if you really think about it, people are going to go out and they are going to parties anyways. Why should going to school be any different? Some kids do not have access to certain technology. You never know what is going on with a child at home. As long as we have our mask and hand sanitizer, we should be good. When grades fall, then what happens?” — Kennedi Mitchell
* “No I don’t think the children need to return back to school. Some children have illnesses. Right now no one needs to return until COVID is under control and gone. Until we learn to abide and stay in, and stay away from large gatherings, it’s only gonna rise higher.” — LaWanda Renee Scott
* “Yes. The children need interaction and structure. We are risking their mental health terrifying them with “Corona”. The “spike” is due to more testing being done. The survival rate of C-19 is 98 percent. We HAVE to get back in school for the sake of our children.” — Jennifer Phillips
* “The numbers of cases are rising, not falling. Honestly a 6 year old is not gonna keep their hands out of their face. They are always going to sneeze, have runny noses and touching stuff. Kids are very active so No No No. Keep those babies home have their work sent home and give them tablets for their work.” — Beverly Patterson