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Photo by Adrian Tate
Teacher assistant Lauren Watts, at Mary Reid School inPotts Camp, assists third grader Kyliah Mallory as she gets off the bus.
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Photo by Colet Pierce
Josh Reaves brings his sons, Raylan (first grade) and Ryder (kindergarten), to the first day of school at H.W. Byers.

Back to school

• County, city districts educating in new ways

Students in the Marshall County and Holly Springs school districts are back in the learning mode, just not the typical method.

Classes started Monday in the county district with about 40 percent of the students selecting the distance learning option and the others attending school on a hybrid schedule.

There are approximately 2,850 students in the district, and 1,200 signed up for the virtual model.

Roy Lawson, superintendent of education, said he thinks the district is more prepared for the distance learning after utilizing it at the end of last semester due to COVID-19. “It will be better,” he said.

“There are growing pains with what we’re doing.

“We believe the teachers are prepared. Of course, we’re concerned about the internet connectivity.” Also, some of the new Chromebooks for students have still not arrived.

As far as in-the-classroom instruction, students in Cohort A go to school on Mondays and Thursdays, and those in Cohort B attend on Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesday is set aside for teacher preparation and extra cleaning at the schools, while students will have assignments to take home.

The hybrid schedule was established to limit the number of students at the schools each day due to health-related requirements with COVID-19.

“Each school is a little different,” said Lawson, as far as the hybrid plan. “We tried to group it by families more than anything else.”

As of now, the A/B model will be for the first four weeks. At that time, depending on status of the COVID19 pandemic, there could be a return to a traditional school schedule.

The virtual learning signup was for a nine-week period. But Lawson said the district plans to work with parents and students throughout the entire process. Of course, he said, the face-to-face instruction is the preferred method.

“We understand we have to be flexible and work with people on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

“We want to work with them to make it the best as possible. We want to do all we can possibly do to help the kids.”

For more information, call 662-252-4271 or go to the district’s website,

Students in the Holly Springs School District started virtual classes August 6. The district plans to offer the hybrid model for face-to-face instruction starting September 8.

“It’s going well,” superintendent of education Irene Turnage said about the distance learning. “The biggest issue is that some of our kids have not logged in.

“We’re going through our list child-by-child and calling them to see what’s going on. Possibly some do not have access to the internet, or there may be other issues.

“Where are the kids who have not logged in? We have to figure out where the rest of our babies are.” There are approximately 1,200 students in the Holly Springs School District.

“We want parents to know that if there is no access to the internet there are other options that we have to make sure our students keep learning,” she said.

“We will work with them. They just need to contact their child’s school or the district office.” Turnage said the first couple of days of the virtual model this school year, August 6 and 7, were kind of hectic and stressful while helping parents and students get logged in, but that “has calmed down a lot.” She, too, said the experience at the end of the last school year with virtual learning helped to solve issues and be more prepared this time around.

Turnage said the teachers are dedicated and working hard, coming every day and leading classes.

The district will go to both a hybrid (in classroom) model and an enhanced virtual model on the Tuesday after Labor Day.

“It is our hope by then that things will be better (as far as COVID) and that our parents might be in a different mindset and ready to send their children to school,” she said. “It’s just better — the face-to-face instruction.

“We will certainly continue to work with our parents and students to do what is best.” For more information, call 662-252-2183 or go to the school district’s website,

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388

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