by Hunter Dawkins

Following a brief statement about visiting and receiving inspiration from the people of Jones County and the amount of damage endured on an Easter Sunday dreadful tornado causing more than ten deaths, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves declared that all school buildings will be closed until the end of the semester at his Tuesday press conference in Jackson.  Describing an earlier conversation with the Superintendent for the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), Governor Reeves expressed that each school district will have to decide whether or not to have any kind of summer school based on the accomplishing curriculum during the period of distance learning due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) global pandemic.

“I know how hard students, teachers, parents and staff have been working during this dangerous time,” said Governor Reeves.  “It has been so encouraging to see the efforts of our education community to protect the people of Mississippi while ensuring that learning continues to take place.  School buildings will remain closed, that does not mean school has been canceled.”

Governor Reeves addressed future plans in these districts and he will ask every school to submit practices to show how they are distance learning and to share the best success with these steps.  “We’re also going to ask educators to prepare for classes in the summer and early fall,” said Reeves.  “Not as a mandate, but we know that this virus (COVID-19) doesn’t hit everyone equally.”

Additionally, the governor spoke about how the circumstances and conditions affect different people throughout the state.  “Not everyone has fancy webcams, fast internet, or have parents that can become full-time teachers,” noted Reeves.  “Those are blessings, but we cannot expect every household to be equipped the same.”

In response to a question, Governor Reeves explained that the data gathered from COVID-19 cases does not justify the risks for school buildings to be opened.  Mississippi State Department of Health Executive Director Dr. Thomas Dobbs went through the statistics for the day of the state passing 3000 cases and over 100 confirmed deaths to resolve the question.

Conclusively, the governor mentioned future executive orders in regards to schools and learning after more deliberation with educators and Dr. Carey Wright; the Superintendent of the MDE.  Further, Reeves conveyed that individual school districts will decide if the students need to attend summer schooling or any future assistance.

After discussing the emergency declaration delivered from the 90-mile tornado, Governor Reeves addressed a new economic team that will be put together for small business help and unemployment.  “I’ve asked a trusted group of our top businessmen to form a Mississippi Restart to do just that,” stated Reeves.  “They are going to develop a series of recommendations and goals for our recovery.:

Reeves announced Joe Sanderson, of Sanderson Farms, as the leader who will study the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s workforce, small businesses and the recovery from this global pandemic.