Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees held a virtual meeting Tuesday evening to discuss virtual learning options for students in the wake of a rise in COVID cases. JPS Superintendent Dr. Errick Greene rolled out a plan to modify the “Return To Learn” plan.
The District will continue with in-person learning as the primary model, but will offer the option for students pre-K through the 6th grade to learn virtually. The virtual option would launch on September 2nd and operate through the end of the semester, December 21st.
“Our greatest concerns are around our scholars who can’t be vaccinated. We remain determined that the best mode of learning is in-person,” Dr. Greene said. “But as a school system that must consider the concerns of stakeholders, this is where we have arrived.”
Community members and parents joined in for public comment. Parents of high school students felt the option should be extended to all students. Others were concerned about the threat that an exposed student could pose to family members with compromised immune systems.
“What I don’t agree with is that if you’re vaccinated you’re safe. All these people are running around with no masks,” said parent Randa Irving. “Within my family, my husband has an autoimmune disease. I can’t have my child going to school with this Delta variant. I don’t want to compromise my family’s health just to return to normal. Otherwise, I’ll be forced to go the G.E.D. route.”
Juanita Williams said she supports vaccinations. But that didn’t prevent COVID from ravaging her home. Currently, she has a son who has been a no-show this year because she’s scared.
“I was devastated to learn two of my three kids contracted COVID. One of them was fully vaccinated and she is suffering right now with COVID. It’s been bad,” She said.
“I suffer from Lupus, and for me, this literally could mean a death sentence, wondering each and every moment if your child is going to get through this.
Last week, 76 students in JPS tested positive for COVID. With nearly 900 in quarantine. JPS staff has been hit as well. Twenty staff members tested positive last week, while 55 were quarantined. In July of 2020, Greene announced that JPS would go fully virtual for the Fall semester. Although scheduled to end last December, schools remained virtual until after Spring Break. Parents who wish to opt in for virtual learning this year will have to complete a survey via the district’s website by Friday, August 27th.
For more information, visit www.jackson.k12.ms.us.