Governor Tate Reeves announced that Mississippi schools would remain closed for the remainder of the current semester, extending his original order set to expire on April 17.

Mr. Reeves has not decided on whether or not to extend the state’s shelter in place order past April 20 but will make a decision within the next two or three days. The governor announced that an independent task force of business leaders from around the state would advise on the reopening the state in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Joe Sanderson, CEO of Sanderson Farms based in Laurel, will head the task force.

Following his press conference, Reeves made this post on Facebook:

“School buildings in Mississippi will remain closed for the rest of the semester. That does not mean school is cancelled. Distance learning will continue, and I will be asking every school to submit plans to show that they are doing just that and share best practices. I know that they are committed to the task.

We’re also going to ask educators to prepare plans for extra classes in the summer or early fall. Not as a mandate. It won’t be for everybody. But we know that this virus doesn’t hit everybody equally. The economic damage doesn’t hit everyone equally. And despite the best efforts of our education community, this hasn’t hit all students equally.

There are many who are surging ahead during this time, getting hours of instruction every day. There are others in circumstances that make that much harder. Not everyone has fancy webcams and fast internet. Not everyone has parents who can also become full-time teachers. Those are blessings, but we cannot expect that every household will be equipped to handle this the same. We’re trying to reach everybody, but we have more work to do.

I am very concerned about those kids. It’s the reason that these education decisions have weighed so heavy on me. We must find a way to take extra care of them. I hope that the option of in-person summer or early fall instruction can help. I know our education community will do whatever it takes to make sure Mississippi kids don’t fall behind.

To every teacher that has gone above and beyond in these trying times, thank you. To every bus driver that has delivered meals or learning packets, thank you. To every parent who has been stretched to their limit to take care of their kids, thank you. None of your work goes unseen.

We are in the fight on multiple fronts. We have several emergencies ongoing. We also have tremendous resources, the greatest of which is you. The people of Mississippi. I am grateful for all of you every day. I pray for all of you every day. We will get through this together.”