State law requires Mississippi schools to operate 180 days each school year, with the school year ending by June 30. By law, school districts are in charge of setting their school calendars, including the first and last day of school.
The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) in June gave school districts the flexibility to implement one of three options for operating schools in 2020-21: traditional, virtual or a hybrid of in-person and distance learning. In July, the SBE established a policy for taking attendance virtually.
“The State Board of Education is sensitive to the fact that local school districts have to contend with tough decisions about how to operate school safely this year,” said Dr. Jason Dean, SBE chair. “Local school boards are the only ones with the legal authority to set the date for starting school. There is no authority given to the State Board of Education to direct school opening plans.”
Based on the March 14, 2020 State of Emergency Proclamation
, the governor has the power to temporarily suspend or modify laws, rules and policies to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak. The governor also has the power to declare school start dates by Executive Order.