GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Like many children across the coast, students in the Gulfport School District will head home Friday afternoon to enjoy a week off for Thanksgiving break.
But concerns about large family gatherings and holiday travel have district officials putting a plan in place in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at the school when they return.
School is still set to return on Monday, Nov. 30 but teachers are sending home lesson plans for the next several weeks just to have in the event that numbers spike once again when the holiday ends.
Superintendent Glen East says this is strictly a precaution so the district can be prepared just in case it’s necessary to switch students to virtual learning.
“If you recall, we were on spring break in March when all of the school closures happened so we had to scramble for a few days to get prepared and it was a very frantic feeling as we tried to prepare to move into the virtual learning,” explained East. “We just wanted to alleviate that situation this time if in case we were asked to close school down.”
East says the work being sent home would only be required if learning has to go virtual, stressing that students are still set to return on Monday following Thanksgiving.
A letter sent to parents on Thursday said:
“As we see COVID-19 updates every day, there is still an increase in cases and hospitalizations. Frankly, there’s a lot of fear that the Thanksgiving break might increase the number of positive cases. Please social distance and wear your masks so that Gulfport School District can continue its path of very few positive COVID-19 cases among our students and staff.
If numbers continue to rise, which will force the District to close like the one ordered in March, we will switch to our School-to-Home plan. An instructive lesson (hard copy) was sent home for each of your child’s classes. THIS IS NOT NECESSARY TO WORK AT THIS TIME. It’s being distributed in case there’s an outbreak and we can NOT [b] return to our current model to provide education in the Gulfport School District. If worst case scenario arises and we can’t return to school, we will also implement our virtual concept from school to home.”
To read that full statement, visit the Gulfport School District’s Facebook page.