Jefferson Co. schools creating smaller classes, making other changes for reopening

Jefferson Co. schools creating smaller classes, making other changes for reopening

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - Empty classrooms will have students in a few weeks for Jefferson County schools. The district is choosing a hybrid reopening amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“Our goal was to design a plan that worked for all students. We had two objectives. First, identify a model that will keep our students and employees safe, but then two, identify a model that gives access to every student,” said Superintendent Adrian Hammitte.

Hammitte says students will physically be at school some days and home the other days. The district is hoping to receive money approved by lawmakers to buy devices for students who may not have internet.

Classes will be smaller this year- with students being divided into two groups.

“Those are based on a student’s last name. Cohort A will attend classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. Cohort B will attend classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays will be used for students who need extra academic support as well as social and emotional support,” said Hammitte.

Students and teachers will be required to wear masks or face shields. Lunch will be served in the classroom for some students.

“In order to maintain social distance and limit movement in grades, pre-K through 8th grade, we will be providing those meals in the classroom. We do believe our high school students will be able to eat in the cafeteria in small groups,” said Hammitte.

The district is also making changes to its bus routes. Bus riders will be reduced by half with parents continuing to have the option to drop off or pick up their child.

Hammitte said, “We’re also looking at bus monitors based on the number of students riding our buses. We think we can use some of our bus drivers to serve as bus monitors.”

The first day of school for students is set for August 10. Hammitte is assuring parents that students will return to a safe environment.

“We are working with our administrators and medical experts. We are working with our teachers as well as our community stakeholders. We know that in order for this plan to be successful we all have to work together to do our part,” said Hammitte.

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