As we begin our seventh week of school, our school district is facing new challenges which require difficult decisions as we continue to navigate returning to school during a pandemic.
Currently, we are responding daily to increasing requests to return to a traditional school environment and increasing requests for bus transportation. The harsh reality is increasing classroom size means decreasing physical distance in our classrooms and on our buses.
On the Bus
After consulting with the Mississippi Department of Health, the District has begun allowing two students per seat on each row of the school bus when necessary with the following safety protocols:
- Face coverings required on the bus at all times for riders and drivers.
- Lowered windows for increased ventilation when possible.
- Extensive cleaning between routes.
Inappropriate bus behavior, including removal of face covering, will result in immediate removal from the bus.
It is important to me to inform parents of this revision to our return to school guide to allow parents who are uncomfortable with this decision to arrange for alternative transportation to and from school for their child.
In the Traditional Classroom
With limited spread and a low number of Covid-positive cases in our school district, it is evident parents feel more and more comfortable with their children returning to the traditional classroom.
As additional students return to school today and in the coming weeks, in-person class sizes will increase.
While our District strives to maintain a critical balance between in-person instruction and social distancing, it is more important than ever that ALL of us commit to the following:
- Complete self-checks each morning before going to school.
- Refer to the District's decision-making flowchart about symptoms, exposure and/or whether to report to school. You can view the flowchart here: https://www.starkvillesd.com/covid19/flowchart
- Avoid large social gatherings outside of school.
- Wear a face covering and wash it daily.
- Wash hands regularly.
- Practice good personal hygiene.
I want to stress that while social distancing may be tighter in our schools and classrooms, each member of our team remains fully committed to implementing and following additional safety protocols and guidelines outlined in our return to school guide.
As we head into fall break, we must not forget that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Schools and districts around the state are being forced to cancel athletic events and move to entirely virtual learning due to outbreaks. Irresponsible behaviors during this Covid season can have serious consequences for our students. Our students and teachers have worked really hard and made many sacrifices to return to school. Let's be smart and be responsible for them.
Thank you in advance for doing your part to keep each member of our Jacket family safe and healthy.
Eddie Peasant, Supt.