The Mississippi Association of Educators released a survey back in July that focused on how teachers and other school officials felt about re-opening schools (Skinner, 2020). There were 2,391 respondents, 78% of which were teachers (the rest were other school officials, admin, counselors). Of these respondents, 86% felt that schools should be reopened at a later date or that schools should start with virtual learning. They also mentioned concerns for their own health as well as that of their own students. In addition, many were concerned about whether school districts could get all the safety and technology measures in place before the start of school.
The Mississippi Department of Education allowed each school district to make the decision on how and when to open, although they did offer options such as going hybrid, traditional (in-person), and/or virtual (Skinner, 2020). The Mississippi Association of Educators did offer recommendations that should be met before children go to school in person. For example, masks should be required and teachers should wear protective gear as well. They should also have plans on how to take student temperatures before they get onto the bus or go into a building, as well as COVID-19 testing accessibility for students who may be showing symptoms. There should also be enough staff who can clean and disinfect the buildings and classrooms on a regular basis.
School districts in Mississippi submitted their plans to the Mississippi Department of Education by July 31, 2020. If you are interested in taking a look at a particular district’s plan, you can view the pdf document here: https://www.mdek12.org/sites/default/files/Offices/MDE/OCGR/restart_recovery_responses_2020.08.05_430p_20226.pdf (when you put this link in change the text to “Mississippi School Districts’ Reopening Plans”)
Advice for Parents Whose Children are in Virtual Learning
My daughter initially was going to do virtual learning at a public school, but we didn’t see it as feasible because both my husband and I work. Thus, my daughter is attending in person pre-k. I, myself, then don’t have much advice and experience on the matter, so I asked for others’ advice. I do anticipate that this type of learning can be frustrating for everyone, so I hope this advice helps make everything go more smoothly until you can get your kids back to school in person.
1.Jen Born from https://www.syrgi.com
1) bookmark all important sites so it’s super simple for your student to go where they need to
2) write down all important passwords so you’re not guessing or searching emails for that info
3) get comfortable earbuds/headphones with an embedded microphone for your student
2.Jen Bradley from https://www.reluctanthomeschoolmama.com/
Jen is a homeschool mom of 8 years and had one child do virtual school for the summer. This is her advice:
- Don’t pressure yourself to re-create a public school classroom. A comfortable chair at a table or desk with natural light will do. If you have pre-readers, a simple alphabet and number chart will be helpful.
- If you have multiple kids, offer them a few different places around the house where they can watch their classes and do their work.
- Sticking with your typical school routine in the morning will help the day start smoothly – and instead of rushing out the door, get everyone to their spots so they can log in on time.
Final Thoughts on the Virtual Learning Trend in Mississippi
As mentioned, it can be frustrating for everyone when it comes to virtual learning. First, trust that you are doing the best that you can as a parent and ask for help when you need it (maybe from your child’s teacher or a friend). Hopefully, everything will go back to some sense of normalcy soon! Just remember you are doing great!
Skinner, K. (2020). Survey: Most Mississippi teachers want later start date or virtual learning. https://mississippitoday.org/2020/07/27/survey-most-mississippi-teachers-want-later-start-date-or-virtual-learning/