August 14, 2020 10:22:17 AM
Mississippi Department of Education has given a waiver to Lowndes County School District, Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District and other districts around the state, allowing them to scale back the school year to 170 days for students.
Though typically students are mandated by state law to attend class for 180 days a school year, MDE has adjusted the calendar year for some districts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused some districts to push back their start dates.
The state Board of Education voted last week to allow districts that had already pushed back their start dates to waive up to 10 school days during the 2020-21 year, according to information from MDE's website. The waiver also applied to certain counties Gov. Tate Reeves has denoted are particularly hard-hit by the virus.
SOCSD Public Information Officer Nicole Thomas and LCSD Superintendent Sam Allison both confirmed their districts had already made the decision to delay school when the board voted.
"We made a decision to delay the first day of school to Aug. 24 prior to this board meeting," Thomas said of SOCSD, adding the original start date that SOCSD's Board of Trustees voted on back in February was Aug. 6. "... Our calendar at the moment reflects 170 days."
Students' last day will be May 27.
Allison said LCSD's board of education will approve its final calendar at its meeting today. Students will begin Sept. 1.
Allison and Thomas both said the change does not affect teachers, who are required every year to work 187 days. In both districts, teachers start back next week.
"We're going to use that time just to be better prepared for hybrid, for virtual (learning for students not attending class in person)," Allison said. It'll give them an extra five days."
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