Water woes in Jackson forcing JPS to begin new semester teaching virtually

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 10:33 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Water woes in the capital city.

WLBT has told you about the problems they’re creating for residents and businesses, but what about local school districts?

These water issues are forcing the Jackson Public School District to start off the new semester with virtual learning.

When the semester started Thursday, nearly three dozen schools either had low water pressure or no water pressure at all.

As of Friday, the water pressure had increased at all schools.

“When I found out that we had to be virtual for a little while, of course, it just took me back to the drawing board, go back find different ways to teach those students,” said Tisithia Knotts, who teaches second grade at Bates Elementary School.

To kick off the new semester, Knotts said she had lesson plans already prepared for her students, thinking they were going to meet in person.

However, those plans were suddenly altered due to the ongoing water issues.

While the second-grade teacher was able to come up with a new set of lesson plans, she admits, teaching virtually isn’t ideal.

“Because of course you have to find new ways to keep those students engaged, Knotts explained. “They’re not in the classroom doing hands-on [activities], so you have to find better ways to grasp their attention just like they’re in the classroom.”

Having to switch to virtual learning due to the city’s water crisis isn’t anything new.

The district found itself in this same situation during the fall semester.

Knotts said going back and forth from teaching in-person to virtual can be hectic.

“One day you may have a lesson plan where you’re going to be doing this, but then the next day you may not be in the building,” Knotts described. “You have to go back and start over from scratch and figure out, how can I still teach this same lesson, how can I allow my students to still understand what’s going on, but through the computer.”

Two days into the new semester, Knotts and the district are doing their best to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone.

Although virtual learning isn’t the preferred option, Knotts said it’s still better than the alternative.

“If we’re not virtually learning then the other alternative would be to not have school at all,” said Knotts. “If we’re not having school then our kids are not learning, if they’re not learning, they’re not growing.”

JPS hopes to return to in-person learning on Monday. The district will continue to monitor the water pressure at all schools over the weekend, and then make a decision on whether to return in person next week or continue virtually.

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