/Gov Reeves bucks expert advice, delays school for just 7% of Mississippi students

Gov Reeves bucks expert advice, delays school for just 7% of Mississippi students

Nonprofit Mississippi News heeded the advice of top state public health officials and voted in Gov. Tate Reeves said Tuesday that he would delay opening a few schools until August 17 — which will affect less than 7%, according to a Mississippi Today analysis. Reeves signed an executive order Tuesday for schools in Washington, Coahoma and Forrest counties. The affected districts can no longer have in-person learning through August 17. Other school districts are allowed to open traditional schools now. Many did and will do so this week. For counties to be eligible for the executive orders, they must have seen at least 200 new cases in the past 14 days and had 500 cases per 100,000 residents during that period. This is the same criteria that he used for his county-by-county mandate which, as of Tuesday, included 37 counties. At the same time as he issued the executive order, the governor also declared a statewide mandate for masks. Reeves stated that “we have approached this in such a way in which we believe we are doing the best interests of our state and we believe it to be in our best interest for our schoolchildren throughout Mississippi.” Based on enrollment data for the 2019-20 school years, the executive order was issued to a select group of students in a few counties. This means that less than 7% are affected. These counties have many districts that are planning to open their schools virtually or set a later date. Two top state health experts publicly urged Reeves to delay reopening schools until September earlier this week. At a press conference Tuesday, Thomas Dobbs, the State Health Officer, said that he thought it was crazy to open traditional schools in the near future. “We cannot have unmitigated risks as far as schools go,” he said. He was seated next to Reeves at a press conference.