by Hunter Dawkins

While being optimistic about some schools returning and his announcement of providing internet access to unserved areas in the state, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves was not thrilled with all school district plans.

“There are ways to minimize the risk, which is true a week from now and a month from now,” stated Governor Reeves in a response to The Gazebo Gazette question at Thursday’s press conference in Jackson.  “All of this information is true even with the caveat of having more cases across the state.”

Further, the governor is extending the social distancing measures under the Safe Return and county-specific executive orders to continue combating the rising cases of COVID-19 across the state.

Consulting daily with state health officials on measured strategies to limit transmission and reviewing the data of the spike in cases, the Governor has extended the social distancing measures until Monday, August 17 at 8:00 AM.

 “We are throwing everything that we can at the hospital crisis in our state, and we are going to continue working to ensure the integrity of our health care system,” said Governor Tate Reeves to today’s press briefing. “I want to underscore again: even if you do not personally fear Coronavirus, the overwhelming of the system affects everybody. If you get in a car wreck, you don’t want to be treated in a tent like we saw in other parts of the country. You want to get the best possible care.”

Monday morning, Reeves announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has approved a RESTORE Act grant award of $6.67 million to support Pearl River Community College’s (PRCC) workforce training in Hancock County.

These recently approved funds and other leveraged funds will be used for the construction of the PRCC workforce training center, which is strategically located adjacent to Stennis International Airport and Hancock County High School.  The grant is administered by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

“This is a great day for Pearl River Community College and the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “We’re grateful for President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s ongoing support of Mississippi’s mission to expand our workforce training capabilities to keep up with changing demand in our state and economy. This new center will play a critical role in continuing to enhance our state’s ability to compete on the national and global stage and create more opportunities for our people to thrive.”

The new center will provide PRCC the necessary ability in Hancock County to deliver technical skills training to students to support existing industry workforce needs and to meet the requirements of future growth sectors, such as the aviation and aerospace industry.

“An important component of an improved economy for the Gulf Coast is workforce training so residents can find better employment and opportunities,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Interim Executive Director.

“The anticipated need for a skilled workforce in the aviation and aerospace industry fits well with the existing facilities in the area and Pearl River Community College’s mission in Hancock County.”