I hope you’re staying safe and enjoying so much needed downtime. I want to share a few updates with you about our response to COVID-19 during our first week of school closure.
MPSD COVID-19 Update #4, March 17, 2020
As we continue to deal with the situation created by the COVID-19 virus outbreak, the MPSD Board of Trustees voted unanimously to close school for an additional week, the week of March 23-27, 2020. The earliest that school would resume would be March 30, 2020. If additional days are added to the closure, we will notify everyone accordingly.
Access to School Campuses for Employees ONLY
I know that many of you are desiring to enter the buildings to retrieve grade books, laptops, water plants, etc. Please refrain from doing so without contacting your site administrator. In the coming days and weeks, we will be deep cleaning and don’t want to risk compromising your health or the buildings after we start this process. Stay tuned for further information on dates and times for access to the school campuses.
Meals 2 Go
The Meridian Public School District in partnership with The Boys and Girls Club began offering lunch meals today that will last while schools are closed. Grab and Go lunches will be available at the following locations from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Those two sites are Velma Young Park and the Boys and Girls Club located on 45th Avenue.
All meals are FREE to children ages 0-18. However, children must be present to receive a meal In partnership with the Boys and the District will also offer meal delivery options to various locations throughout the City. We are continuing to receive calls from community partners who are volunteering to deliver meals as the need grows. If you hear about any students in need, please contact your school administrator.
MDE Update on State Testing, Attendance and Graduation
Mississippi State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright has recommended to the State Board of Education that state and federal assessment and accountability requirements be suspended for the 2019-20 school year. The MDE will seek the maximum authority and waivers afforded by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and other federal agencies.
State and federal assessments included in this recommendation include:
- Pre-K and Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (post-test)
- Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) and MAAP-Alternate English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science - Grades 3-8 and High School
- U.S. History
- ACT for 11th graders
- English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT)
In addition, if schools statewide need to close for an extended period of time, Dr. Wright will recommend that the SBE waive applicable policies regarding attendance, promotion, and graduation.
The SBE is scheduled to meet virtually at 10 a.m. March 19. The public is asked to view the meeting via livestream at http://bit.ly/SBElive.
All MDE COVID-10 updates are posted online: www.mdek12.org/covid19.
MPSD is working with MDE and the School Board to approve additional leave days for certified and hourly staff members. Mississippi State Legislature addressed the issue of pay during an extended closure for certified and non-certified school employees.
The last thing we desire is for employees to worry about lost wages during this time. The School Board agreed and voted to provide each employee 10 days of administrative leave with pay to ensure everyone is paid for the days schools are closed.
MHSAA Suspends All Competition and Practices
Effective immediately, all MHSAA interscholastic sports and fine-arts activities competition and practice are suspended through March 29 and until further notice. This suspension applies whether or not a school is open or closed during this timeline.
This is a difficult time for all of us, and our student-athletes and artists, along with their coaches and teachers, who were entering their spring seasons of competition are struggling. Your MPSD family lifts you up, and we look forward to your return in our classrooms and on our competition fields and performance stages.
For more information on this decision from MHSAA, their full announced is posted here: https://www.misshsaa.com/2020/
03/16/all-mhsaa-competition- and-practice-suspended- through-march-29/?fbclid= IwAR0KY_80UBUEO_ mZOEr1mtVK7UOuTN5O6JqMCnS4zhd0 ppGwefTP5Mepwv0
It was an extremely difficult decision to close our schools, and the decision to close reflects the seriousness and severity of this health crisis. Although this time away is called an extended spring break, it is imperative that we practice and model key preventative measures. You can help keep our schools and community safe for everyone by sharing accurate information. All of our District messages and resources can be found at www.mpsdk12.net/coronavirus. This page will serve as an ongoing feed of MPSD response updates, event changes and closures, and resources.
One of the many strengths of our greater school community is our love for each other. If you have not already, I encourage you to connect with your students, colleagues, players, and families. You’ve spent nine months building relationships in your classrooms and on your teams, and your connection provides a level of comfort and clarity.
Continued Learning During School Closures
Excellent classroom teachers are essential to our students’ success even when our schools are closed. While nothing can replace in-person classroom instruction, it is wonderful to see so many of our schools sharing their love of teaching and learning as you think about how to engage your students through excellent learning experiences during this time. Thank you for your commitment to sharing love for students and their families during this uncertain season.
Our plan for flexible, continued learning will be rooted in our commitment to equity and ensuring all students have an equal chance at success. Our goal is for our students to read, write, communicate and engage in continued learning experiences if schools remain closed for an extended period of time. Our curriculum team is working on a plan that will involve digital/online and paper/pencil resources. We’ll be sharing additional information in the coming days if it becomes necessary for our schools to remain closed.
I realize this is a lot of information, and yet, I’m sure many of you still have unanswered questions. I am sure we all do. We’ll continue to share information as more decisions are finalized as we move forward.
I just want to take a moment to thank those of you who have reached out to offer a kind word or a message of encouragement. Together, we will find our way through this. Thank you again for your unselfish commitment to serving our students and families and each other.
Take care of yourself! Your MPSD family needs you to be healthy!
Remember we are Meridian,
Amy J. Carter