Oxford, Mississippi schools delay start date over COVID worries

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — School leaders in Oxford, Mississippi said they will delay the start date for students until Aug. 24, with teachers returning Aug. 17.

The Oxford School District board of trustees approved the delay in a 3-2 vote Wednesday.

“We have wrestled with this decision for several days as numerous parents have requested a transition to virtual learning for their students at a rapidly increasing pace,” Superintendent Brian Harvey said in a letter to parents.

The district had more than 300 requests wishing to change from face-to-face instruction to online learning from home since the deadline on July 10.

“By delaying, I feel that we have a better chance of staying in school long term with healthy staff and students,” Harvey said. The reality is some teachers are reluctantly returning to classrooms, and many of our parents are reluctantly sending their children as positivity rates for Covid-19 continue to climb in our state and in our community.”

On Tuesday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a statewide temporary mask mandate and said school start dates would be delayed for grades 7-12 in some areas hard hit by COVID.

This also included South Panola School District. The new start date for that district is now Monday, August 17.

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