After hearing concerns from parents, The Lauderdale County School District approved its reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year during a board meeting Wednesday night.
Schools were closed in March as the COVID-19 pandemic spread.
Under the plan, after Labor Day, students will attend classes five days a week, with some days involving hybrid or distance learning.
Students wanting to take courses online must provide medical documentation for not being able to attend in person.
The updated plan offers that option for students with immediate family members with a medical condition.
The updated plan requires students to wear masks and face shields at certain times, according to Ken Hardy, director of curriculum, assessment and accountability.
The district also moved back the opening of school from Aug. 5 to Aug. 10.
Students with last names beginning with A-K will attend on Aug. 10 and Aug. 11.
Aug. 12 will be a distance learning day, and students with last names beginning with L-Z will attend on Aug. 13 and Aug. 14.
The calendar will follow that pattern until after Labor Day, when all students will return to a traditional schedule.
The revised calendar also includes five professional development days for teachers.
The plan’s approval came after the board heard comments from concerned parents.
Sandra Johnson, whose child attends Northeast Lauderdale Middle, said parents should be able to choose the online learning option without their child having a medical condition.
“It breaks my heart because parents don’t have a choice to do distance learning,” she said. "At times like this, we don't need to risk our kids.”
Stephania Wooten worried about the spread of the coronavirus.
"I don't know what this will do," she said. "I have three kids, and I will not be able to be with them if they get sick and put in the hospital. I can't live with that. My children need me and they need me when they are sick."
The Mississippi Department of Education required the district to have the plan completed by July 31.
Superintendent John-Mark Cain said the plan could change based on the COVID-19 pandemic.