ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - Back-to-school is always a stressful time, and COVID-19 has made it 10 times worse. Some folks have a lot of questions, others may be overwhelmed with details already. We checked in with the leader of one of the state’s largest school districts for a conversation that may help you out.
“We’ve been charged with the task of reopening schools for our community,” said Jones County Superintendent Tommy Parker. “There are two major goals that we want to accomplish by doing that. We want to provide a safe and orderly environment for our students to attend school in, and for our faculty and staff as well. And we also want to meet their needs academically, socially, physically, psychologically, as they return to school. We think that’s very important in getting our community back on its feet. So many times the school is the hub of the community that it’s in. So we think it’s just critically important that we have face-to-face school in our district.”
Parker said Jones County surveyed parents and about 98% wanted their kids back in the classroom.
He said the district will double-route its school buses to reduce the numbers of students on board. The district is purchasing masks for all students and they'll be required on buses and encouraged at school.
Additional cleaning crews have been hired; hand sanitizer and disinfectant will be available. Anybody entering the buildings will undergo a health screening and temperature check. Jones County has bought sanitizing foggers for all locations.
“We’re just doing everything that we think is possible to provide a safe environment for our students,” Parker said.
He says he believes Jones County has a good plan, but the district is also ready to make changes if conditions require.