Last Wednesday (March 18) morning Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed an executive order keeping all schools closed until at least April 17, 2020, due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus.

By April 17, public schools in Mississippi will have been closed for four weeks, at which point Reeves said he and education officials will determine whether to further extend school closures.

“This is not a decision I take lightly,” Reeves said. “It is the the hardest decision I’ve made since becoming governor. I know it is difficult for Mississippi families when schools are shut down.”

“But this decision is in the best interest of all Mississippians,” he said. “But this is not a vacation time. It’s a time to continue learning. And our teachers and parents are looking for innovative ways to continue learning.”

Reeves also said the end of the year testing requirements will be relaxed. He added he is giving the State Department of Education maximum flexibility to waive or change its rules and regulations over the coming months."

Reeves also emphasized that teachers and school staff will be paid even though school is closed.

Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) officials on Wednesday (March 18) said that both the House and Senate passed legislation to authorize districts to pay all certified and non-certified staff during school closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Districts will continue to receive their monthly MAEP allocations.

Gov. Reeves said the onslaught of the coronavirus has put everyone in “unprecedented, uncertain and unchartered waters."

MDE officials announced last week that effective with licensure renewal applications received Monday, March 23, 2020 and thereafter, a one-year extension will be granted to those educators holding a standard Mississippi educator license that is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2020 only.

Educators can begin submitting the licensure renewal application request via their respective Educator Licensure Management System (ELMS) account Monday, March 23, 2020. Again, this only applies to standard Mississippi educator licenses that are scheduled to expire June 30, 2020. This includes standard Mississippi licenses held by teachers, administrators, and instructional support personnel. Those educators who have already completed all requirements for licensure renewal are encouraged to complete the application process for obtaining their five-year license.

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