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HERNANDO, Miss. — DeSoto County Schools, Mississippi’s largest school district, announced Wednesday that students would return to school August 6.

But the district is giving parents the option to decide whether their child will attend school in-person classes or online ones.

“Flexibility is gonna be the word of the day this school year,” Superintendent Cory Uselton said.

By default, students will start enrolled in in-person classes, but parents will have until July 22 to opt out and enroll their child in online classes.

“At the end of each nine weeks, they’ll be able to decide if they want to stay in the distance learning program full-time or if they want to come back to the regular classroom,” Uselton said.

Uselton said the majority of the parents that responded to the district’s survey favored in-person classes. So did most of the parents WREG spoke with.

“I think it’s very important for him to be in-person to have that one-on-one, you know, I think it’s kind of isolating for him to stay home for that long, but we’ll see,” parent Krista Golightly said.

“My child has special needs, so trying to be able to teach him at home is really, really difficult,” parent Summer George said.

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DCS is asking parents to do health checks each morning before school. In the event a child tests positive for COVID-19, the district said it would notify parents of the child’s classmates but would rely on state health officials to determine if anyone needed to be quarantined.

All schools will practice social distancing.

“We’re going to try and limit the class sizes as much as we possibly can,” Uselton said. 

But face masks won’t be required for students or staff, although they are recommended.

“I just don’t think that’s a good idea because the cases went up ever since Memorial Day holiday,” said Michelle Walston, who homeschools her children.

“It’s gonna be in their mouth, their eyeballs,” George said. “They’re gonna chew it. They’re gonna play with it, and it’s actually gonna create more germs, gonna hold more germs for that age group.”