Students and teachers may be out of the classrooms for the foreseeable future because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that learning is not going on for  Philadelphia and Neshoba County students.

 

“When Governor Reeves closed the schools, he said he expected for learning to continue,” said Dr. Lisa Hull, superintendent of the Philadelphia School District. “We are offering two options: either by internet or through paper assignments sent home.”

 

Neshoba Central Principal Tiffany Platt said her school was following a similar plan. “Our teachers are staying in contact with our students and parents,” said Platt. “For the ones who have internet access, the teachers are sending out assignments and things to work on. Some of our teachers were reading books on Facebook last Friday.

 

“For the homes that don’t have internet access, we are trying to get work to the parents by any means.”

 

State testing has been waived this year, but Platt said it is still important that students continue their studies.

 

“We are constantly emailing and having phone conferences,” Platt said. “We are staying in touch. Our PTO has asked students and parents to send pictures of the things they are doing. We have pictures of the children playing in the creek, learning to cook or planting plants. We are trying to stay positive”

 

Neshoba County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Penny Hill confirmed similar activities are going on at the middle school and high school.

 

The Philadelphia schools are getting a good response from student through online learning, Hull said.

 

“Our kids have gotten very creative,” Dr. Hull said. “They can listen to the classes on their phones, X-boxes or other electronic devices. We are getting 70 and 80 percent participation district-wide, and it is getting better.”

 

Hull said that online classes are recorded. If a student can’t tune in live, they can go back and watch it later. Other online learning sites like Google Classroom are also available.

 

“The district is providing paper pencil packets for students who do not have internet,” Hull said. “The schools have tried to reach out to all of our students. We have not been able to reach some of the students because we don’t have a good phone number. If you haven’t heard from your child’s school, I urge you to call in and give us a good number.”

 

The schools are providing breakfast and lunches each day for the students.

 

“No one is at the school but the cafeteria workers,” Platt said. “We have a lot of parents bringing their kids to pick up lunch so they can wave out the window.”

 

Hull said her staff continues to look for new ways to reach their students.

 

“We want every child to have the very best services we can provide during this unprecedented event,” Hull said. “We are working on things we can do. It will not replace face-to-face instruction with a teacher.”

 

Dr. Hull said her district has not decided how the online work will count for a student’s overall grade but added that it could be important.

 

“When we went out, we had completed the third nine weeks,” Hull said. “We don’t know when we will be going back. We are running the grades and seeing how each student stood at that point. It could help pull up grades or it could become more important.”