7/28/20 - School Restarts | Mask Mandates | National Parks
As school districts across the state make plans to reopen, a new survey shows less than 20 percent of Mississippi Educators-- want to return to a traditional class room in the fall--- amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
And as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the state, more Mississippi counties are expected to be added to the Governor's mask mandate order--but no statewide order.
Then a historic conservation and public lands bill passes Congress--providing billions of dollars to help repair the nation's crumbling national parks.
In the next few days and weeks, school districts across the state will begin opening their doors for the start of the fall school year. A new survey released by the Mississippi Association of Educators shows just 18 point 2 percent of those responding want to return to a traditional in-person school setting. Educators say they are fearful for their health and the health of their students during the coronavirus pandemic. All 138 school districts in the state have to submit their plans for how they will educate students in the fall by the end of this week. Governor Tate Reeves says he will review them and will overrule any district by issuing an executive order---if he feels they are not acting in the best interest of students.
The Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Mississippi State Medical Association issued a statement over the weekend-- calling for schools to delay reopening---as least until September first to allow time for reduced COVID 19 transmission. They are also calling for mandatory masks in school buildings and that all children be given the option of virtual learning. Dr. John Gaudet is a pediatrician in Hattiesburg. He says they are not only concerned about the health of children--but that of teachers, staff and coaches.
Mississippi is still battling the deadly coronavirus. The number of cases in the state has passed 52 thousand---and more than 15 hundred people have died from the virus since March. 29 of Mississippi's 82 counties are mandated to wear a mask while in public gatherings. Governor Tate Reeves is expected to add 9 more counties to the order this week. He says these counties are having surges in new coronavirus cases. The Mississippi State Medical Association continues to call for a statewide mask mandate to reduce the virus transmission. But Governor Reeves says he's taking a more surgical approach.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign a bill that would provide billions of dollars to fix the aging infrastructure of the National Park Service, Forest Service and Land and Water Conservation Fund. It's being called one of the most important environmental proposals in decades. In Mississippi, there are about 8 national parks. And the Natchez Trace Parkway alone needs about 290 million dollars for infrastructure repairs. Theresa Pierno is with the National Parks Conservation Association.