by Hunter Dawkins

In the monthly school board of trustees meeting at the new high school building, Long Beach School District Dr. Jay Smith happily reported, “Long Beach reported zero COVID-19 cases students, faculty, and staff.”  After mentioning these numbers, he expressed the need to maintain the current Maroon/White re-opening school plan for the first nine weeks of the fall semester.

“In talking with all of our principals, things are going really well if we extend this plan for the first nine weeks, which will be done on October 8,” said Dr. Smith.  “If we keep this plan and there is a contact of the virus in the school, we will only have to quarantine half of the school rather than the whole.  This plan will also give our parents the time needed to adjust if we choose to do something different after the term.”

Once this statement was made, the school board approved the extension.  The rules for the school plan are:  – 5 days in the classroom for all students in Long Beach Schools on Team Maroon followed by 5 classroom days for Team White.  Additionally, these measures are met:

  • Distance learning will be provided for students. If you this is the best option for your child, complete the Distance Learning Agreement form located at each school website. Parents must initial each declaration and sign the form agreeing to all declarations to be eligible for this option. This must be done by noon on Friday, July 31.
  • Students with IEP’s will be assigned to a team based on the IEP goals of the student. The Office of Student Services will contact the parents of our exceptional education students in the coming days.
  • Each student will have his/her temperature checked daily by school staff. Each school will develop its own procedures to ensure this is done in a safe, effective, and efficient manner. Any student who refuses to have his/her temperature checked will not be allowed to attend classes.
  • Students with a temperature of 100 degrees or more shall be isolated and shall be immediately picked up from school by a parent or a parent’s designee as identified on the student’s check out list. Students may not return to school until he/she is symptom free without medication for one full school day.
  • Students in grades K-6 will be self-contained.
  • Students in grades 7-12 will have traditional schedules.
  • Recess and enrichment classes will be provided as normal at the K-6 level.
  • Students will be arranged to the extent possible in all classroom settings to promote social distancing, Social distancing guidelines will be followed whenever and wherever possible in each school building. Each school will establish procedures to effectively ensure social distancing guidelines are met to the most reasonable extent possible to include recess and gymnasiums.
  • Class changes at the middle school and high school will be staggered as to minimize overcrowding and will ensure all hallway movement is the same direction whenever and wherever possible.
  • Staff will ensure that all classrooms, bathrooms, cafeterias, and all high traffic areas are routinely cleaned and sanitized throughout the school day.
  • Each school will create and implement a breakfast and lunch plan whereby social distancing guidelines are met while in the cafeteria. This will result in classes alternating between eating in the cafeteria and the classroom.
  • All large gatherings shall be prohibited including assemblies and back-to-school nights. Athletic and activity events such as choir will be dictated by the policies of the MHSAA.
  • Field trips are prohibited.
  • Parent/Teacher Parent/Administrator meetings shall be held via video conference or telephone until further notice.
  • No outside entities will be allowed to use or rent school district facilities at this time.
  • Policy on any activity directed by the Mississippi High School Athletic Association: The LBSD will follow all MHSAA guidelines and recommendations as it pertains to athletic events and activities. School districts must abide by MHSAA rules and regulations as a member of the organization. If we choose to do otherwise, our students would not be allowed to participate in any sanctioned MHSAA event, thus eliminating our students from the opportunity to participate.

In other actions, Dr. Smith listed an enrollment of 2884 students this year, which was down 194 from 2019.  341 were currently distance learning.

Finally, the school board approved an emergency request of the purchase of Schoology to accommodate the immediate need to offer distance learning as an option to all students.