Updated at 5:21 p.m.
DeSoto County Schools will delay classes one week, according to an email from the district to parents. Classes will now start on Aug. 17. All schools were originally set to open this Monday.
Earlier today, the Mississippi State Board of Education announced they would waive up to 10 days of the state’s 180-day instructional requirement for schools who delay their original start date. In order to qualify for this waiver, schools must delay their opening. The delay will give DeSoto County Schools 173 days of instruction for the school year.
Gov. Tate Reeves required some school districts — not including DeSoto County Schools — to delay classes for 7th-12th grades. He also recommended that all other districts delay classes, though they were not required to do so by the order.
“The major obstacle at that point was the 180 day requirement,” Superintendent Cory Uselton said in an interview after the announcement.
Thursday was the final day for the district to take advantage of the waiver from the state board of education.
“There was no way we could turn that offer down because we do need some extra flexibility in a school year like this one,” Uselton said. “We felt like it was in the best interest of the school district to take that offer.”
The first Staff Development Day will be on Nov. 3 and the second on Jan. 4. The first day of the spring semester was pushed back one day, to Jan. 5.
Uselton emphasized how different this year would be from any before it for the school system, saying the extra time would allow both teachers and parents to further prepare for distance learning.
“We’re all first-year educators right now,” he said.