Rankin County Schools announce one-week delay, hybrid start for all students

Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 7:54 AM CDT
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RANKIN CO., Miss. (WLBT) - The Rankin County School District has announced online that it will make some changes to the start of the school year, following Governor Tate Reeves’ executive order on Tuesday for some school districts.

RCSD will now start class for all K through 12 students one week later than planned, on Monday, August 17. A hybrid attendance scenario will be followed for at least the first two weeks of school, but the district will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation with hopes to move to an “enhanced traditional” scenario after that.

The hybrid scenario divides students into Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 groups, allowing them to report to school on alternating days according to their last name. Schools will alert families of their cohort group. Wednesdays will be virtual learning days for all students, to allow for deep cleaning, weekly planning, and professional development.

· Cohort 1: Face-to-face in school on Monday and Thursday; Distance learning on Tuesday, Wednesday,and Friday.

· Cohort 2: Face-to-face in school on Tuesday and Friday; Distance learning on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

The district also says that Northwest Rankin High School will actually begin school for the first week with virtual distance learning, due to construction delays.

Shuntina Harvey has two children, in third and 6th grade. She says she wishes the district had informed parents a little faster because she had to have alternate plans ready in case the district didn’t approve her kids for distance learning.

“Today I received approval for my 3rd grader’s choice. Her virtual. School was slated to start on Monday. That would have given me two days, Thursday and Friday, to figure out what I was going to do for my child,” Harvey said.

Kasey McClendon chose hybrid learning for her kids, which means they'll have two days in the classroom and two at home. She says as a respiratory therapist, she has some misgivings about them going back.

“They’re ready to go back to school, however, so ready,” said McClendon. “And they do play sports so if they don’t go back they can’t play their sports. My son is 10th grade basketball so he doesn’t want to miss out on that.”

Harvey says she's blessed to have someone to help with the kids while she works.

“Mom and dad work full-time, so neither one of us will be interacting,” she said. “My sister is who’s going to facilitate.”

For McClendon, there's only one way to send her kids off on that first day.

“My bottom line is just I am praying, I cover my kids in prayer every day,” she said.

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