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Schools to be closed for semester

NATCHEZ — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced during a Tuesday press conference that public schools would remain closed for the remainder of the school year in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Reeves asked every school to submit distance-learning plans and for educators to prepare for summer or early fall learning as an option for make-up school to ensure those students’ educations continue.

“I know how hard teachers, students, all staff and parents have been working during this dangerous time,” Reeves said. “You have my deep respect and sincere admiration. It has been so encouraging to see the efforts of our education community to protect the people of Mississippi while ensuring learning takes place. I know our education community will do whatever it takes to make sure Mississippi kids don’t fall behind.”

After the conference, Cathedral School principal Norm Yvonne said that Cathedral’s buildings would also remain closed through the remainder of the school year while students continue remote learning.

Natchez-Adams School District Superintendent Fred Butcher said the district is preparing to continue providing distance learning opportunities for students with both printed and online instructional materials.

“We hate that we’re having to close for the remainder of the school year, but that is just a sign of the times we’re in. Right now, we want all of our parents, students and staff to be as safe as they can possibly be. We are still working every day in order to provide quality instruction to our students,” Butcher said, adding additional information would be sent to parents regarding their children’s distance learning.

Butcher also said the district hosted a meeting with Natchez High School and Natchez Early College Academy administrators and staff on Tuesday morning and discussed tentative graduation dates for their high school seniors, which could be May 22 or later depending on the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Butcher said meal services would restart as early as next week for families who need assistance providing meals for their children under 18 years old or under 21 for families with young adults who have special needs.

Packaged meals would be provided on Mondays and Wednesdays with enough food to feed children on weekdays, he said.