Mississippi House Democratic Caucus releases the following statement after Governor Reeves issued several executive orders yesterday:
On Saturday, August 1, 2020, Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute predicted that Mississippi would become number one in the nation for COVID cases per capita. Right on the heels of that prediction, Governor Reeves issued several executive orders, including a statewide mask mandate and the delay of the school year in some select counties across the state.
While we believe that a statewide mask mandate is a necessary decision in the state of Mississippi, it should have been issued weeks ago before we started reaching record numbers of COVID cases on a daily basis. Additionally, we have already seen the “effectiveness” of implementing a piece-meal COVID prevention strategy with the county-by-county mask mandate. We do not need to conduct the same experiment with our schools — with our children.
Most of us in the State Legislature are parents and grandparents, and we understand well the importance of school in a child’s life. However, these executive orders do not go far enough in protecting the safety of our children, teachers, and school support staff. Six children in the city of Corinth have already tested positive for COVID-19, yet Alcorn County is not on the proposed list of counties that will have a delayed start to the school year.
Governor Reeves has repeatedly characterized himself as someone who “studies the data”. As such, he should know that listening to the health experts, who have recommended the start of school be delayed for the health of all Mississippians, is critical.