JPS Considering Virtual Learning, Invites Community Comments | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

JPS Considering Virtual Learning, Invites Community Comments

The Jackson Public School system has mandated in-person learning since the beginning of the fall semester, using safety protocols first instituted in early June. A virtual meeting on Aug. 24, 2021, could mark the first change in JPS policy since that time. Photo by Ralson Smith on Unsplash

The Jackson Public School system has mandated in-person learning since the beginning of the fall semester, using safety protocols first instituted in early June. A virtual meeting on Aug. 24, 2021, could mark the first change in JPS policy since that time. Photo by Ralson Smith on Unsplash

Jackson Public Schools will hold a virtual meeting at 6 p.m. this evening, where the JPS Board of Trustees will discuss possible virtual learning options for students due to the fourth wave of increased COVID-19 numbers in Mississippi.

“The purpose of the meeting is to consider a virtual learning option. The Board will also consider amending Policy IAAA Distance/Online Learning and approving the digital curriculum programs. The Board may take up any other matter coming before it,” a notice on the JPS website states.

The Jackson community is invited to participate and comment by following the instructions listed on their website. Community members must email their questions and comments to [email protected] by no later than 4 p.m. this afternoon, or by calling into the Zoom meeting between 5:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. this evening.

The meeting will be available for participation over Zoom, but also viewable via Youtube.

In-school traditional learning is currently mandatory, and JPS is not yet allowing virtual learning unless a student is quarantined due to sickness or exposure to COVID-19, or otherwise medically excused.

The latest weekly data from the Mississippi State Department of Health show 386 new school outbreaks from last week alone, encompassing 5,763 additional student infections and 945 infections among faculty. A total of 1,132 staff self-quarantined last week due to possible COVID-19 exposure, while 28,990 students were quarantined due to exposure in that same week.

So far in the fall semester, MSDH school data show 11,786 student infections and 2,383 faculty infections spread over 704 outbreaks.

During a press briefing this morning, Gov. Tate Reeves reiterated his refusal to mandate masks in schools or otherwise.

“I don't anticipate any lockdowns,” Reeves said. “I don't anticipate any statewide mask mandates.”

“There is no doubt that we have kids and teachers throughout the state that have tested positive. We have kids and teachers throughout the state that have been required to quarantine, and that wreaks havoc on many individual schools, individual classrooms, and individual districts throughout the state,” Reeves said.

“But I still believe very strongly that having our kids in the classroom is vitally important and, in the long term, the risk associated with not being in the classroom is greater than the risk associated with being in the classroom.”

Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].

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