Good afternoon. I would like to start by thanking everyone for your patience during these challenging times. Everything has changed so rapidly this week, and that is why everyone was cautioned yesterday about the possibility of more school changes over the next few days.While the entire Spring Break week has been stressful for everyone, I want to give you an update of what has taken place over the last 48 hours regarding our schools.
The Chief Health Officer for the Mississippi State Department of Health, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, announced that he was not recommending to close schools.
School districts received information about the Mississippi Pandemic Influenza Incident Index. This document outlines the steps that would need to be taken in order for schools to close in pandemic situations. DeSoto County Schools did not fit the criteria for school closure.
The Mississippi State Department of Health held another press conference Friday afternoon. The Chief Health Officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, announced again that he was not recommending to close schools. However, he did caution that leaders should not hold events with 250 or more people in attendance.
Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency Saturday afternoon for the state of Mississippi in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
As a result of Governor Reeves’ announcement, DeSoto County Schools students will not be attending school through Friday, March 20th.
A few notes regarding this closure:
Parents will receive another update on or before March 20th. Because there are so many factors that go into these decisions (student/staff safety, teacher/staff pay, state-level guidance, make-up days, etc.) and this situation is changing so rapidly, we ask for patience on updates from the district level.
Employees will receive an email later today or Sunday with more information.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association makes decisions regarding sports seasons, and school officials will be notified as we receive information from the MHSAA.
I appreciate the flexibility that was allowed to school districts today by Governor Reeves, and I want you to know that the safety of our students and staff is my utmost priority.As the parent of two DeSoto County Schools students, I have the same concerns that all other parents have during these challenging times. There is no blueprint on how to handle this type of situation, but we will all continue to work together in these upcoming weeks to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.
I appreciate your continued support of DeSoto County Schools.
Superintendent of Education
DeSoto County Schools