Oxford School District extends spring break; classes to resume next week

Published 5:11 pm Thursday, March 12, 2020

Students of area school districts were given a couple extra days of spring break on Thursday.

The Oxford School District met on Thursday afternoon and spent several hours going over potential scenarios regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. As of now, the solution decided on does not eliminate the remainder of their school year.

All Oxford school campuses will remain closed through March 17, giving students and teachers two extra days of spring break.

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“The first concern is the safety our students and staff, and we want to make sure we honor that and it’s at the forefront of any decision made,” said Brian Harvey, Oxford school superintendent. “But at the same time, we do fall under the guidelines the Mississippi Department of Education and state statutes. There’s certain things that spelled out in that that we have to abide by. … This gives a little more time to see what other things may transpire between now and Wednesday.”

The two days were already built into OSD’s academic calendar, which allowed them to not have to ask the Mississippi Department of Education’s permission to cancel those days. The days will be made up on April 13 and May 21.

Despite the school campuses being closed, OSD’s central office will be open on both days. All school activities, athletic events, games, practices and meetings are canceled through March 17 as well.

Both the MDE and the Mississippi Department of Health did not recommend the closure of schools across the state, and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has not declared a state of emergency. That tied the district’s hands in terms of how long they could cancel classes for, according to the Mississippi code 37-13-63, which requires all schools have a minimum of 180 days in their academic year.

Harvey noted that all surfaces and doorknobs in classrooms and the school buses had extra cleanings done with disinfectant on top of the regularly-scheduled cleanings that take place during spring break.

Although they were not planning to meet until Saturday, the Lafayette County School District announced a similar plan on Thursday evening. All school activities, sports and classes are canceled through March 17.

“Administrators are monitoring the current information from the Mississippi Department of Education, the Mississippi State Department of Health, and the Governor’s Office regarding COVID-19,” a statement released on all of the school district’s social media accounts read. “This is a fluid situation and further decisions will be made regarding additional necessary precautions.”

Regents of Oxford also announced on Thursday they will keep their school closed until March 18.