Moving into Phase II has been put on hold for the local city schools as the number of COVID cases continue to increase.
Although many were prepared to move ahead with a more face-to-face instruction model, the momentum has stalled as the COVID cases rise.
However, all technological devices for students within the city schools have arrived and will be distributed by the end of next week.
Although the arrival of the devices is good news, Superintendent Dr. Jermall Wright said he is still concerned over the number of students enrolled within the district, as well as the number of COVID cases, which are predicted to rise.
During the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting this week, Wright said that there are 130 fewer students enrolled within the local Mississippi School Achievement District. Of that total number, McCoy Elementary has about 100 fewer students than last year.
A decrease in enrollment affects the amount of state funding the district will receive in the next fiscal year. The reason for the shift in enrollment? Wright said perhaps more families are moving out of the city.
From opening schedules to holidays operations to COVID numbers, there are many updates circulating within the city schools as adaptation continues with an ever-changing model.
The possibility of moving the district into Phase II, which would open more face-to-face instruction, has been put on hold.
“Everyone agrees that we need to suspend Phase II planning altogether until we see decreases in positivity rates and 14-day case rates…,” said Wright. “We have almost reached the five present threshold level in Yazoo County. The data that we do have suggests that this rate will continue to trend up, which is aligned to what we are seeing statewide.”
During the city council meeting, Wright reported that there are six cases reported at Woolfolk Middle School; three at McCoy Elementary; and three within the central office.
“What we are experiencing in our district seems to be occurring statewide,” Wright said. “Schools reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the last few weeks of October than they have since August.”
Continuing with Phase I operations does have a few exceptions. Elementary schools “may” increase the number of younger-aged students who attend face-to-face. Priority will be given to students who do not have access to the Internet at home.
Election Day will be an additional virtual day for all students. Any student groups attending school face-to-face on Nov. 3 should remain at home.
The entire week after the Thanksgiving holiday (Nov. 30-Dec. 4) will be made into a virtual week with all students remaining home during this week. Instructional staff will provide instruction to students on Monday through Thursday of that week.
Student Devices, Internet Need
Schools will receive all its student devices and have them distributed to families by the end of next week. Once all students have access to a device, by Nov. 6, all satellite locations within Yazoo City will be suspended.
Technology upgrade projects, including underground fiber rings, are in the final stages of completion. Smartboards are currently being delivered to classrooms.