For Immediate Release: March 16, 2020
(JACKSON, MS) – The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is providing this update on the impact of school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This is an unprecedented time in our state and country, and the safety, health and well-being of students, school staff and communities are the MDE’s and the Mississippi State Board of Education’s (SBE) top priorities,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.
Dr. Wright has made a recommendation to the SBE that state and federal assessment and accountability requirements be suspended for the 2019-20 school year. The MDE will seek the maximum authority and waivers afforded by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and other federal agencies.
Additionally, Dr. Wright will continue to work collaboratively with Gov. Tate Reeves and Dr. Thomas Dobbs, State Health Officer with the Mississippi Department of Health, as the pandemic evolves. Should schools statewide need to close for an extended period of time, Dr. Wright will recommend that the SBE waive applicable policies regarding attendance, promotion and graduation.
The SBE is scheduled to meet virtually at 10 a.m. March 19. The public is asked to view the meeting via livestream at http://bit.ly/SBElive.
The MDE is working with the Mississippi State Legislature to address the issue of pay during an extended closure for certified and non-certified school employees.
Further updates will be provided in the future.
State and federal assessments included in this recommendation include:
- Pre-K and Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (post-test)
- Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP) and MAAP-Alternate English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science - Grades 3-8 and High School
- U.S. History
- ACT for 11th graders
- English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT)
All MDE COVID-19 updates are posted online: www.mdek12.org/covid19.
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR
Director of Communications
Jean Cook, APR
Director of Public Relations