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Picayune, Poplarville report return to classes was smooth

Students and teachers returned to school campuses in the Poplarville and Picayune School Districts on Thursday as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state.

The Pearl River Central School District is set to reopen its doors on Aug. 13 after making a prior decision to push the start of school back by five days.

Traffic was a little heavier at the Poplarville School District than normal, said Superintendent Konya Miller, as more parents were dropping off their children instead of sending them on the bus.

The district asked parents to drop off their kids when possible to make it easier for children to social distance on school buses, according to previous coverage.

Despite the increased traffic, classes were able to start on time, said Miller.
While some students returned to the physical schools, 390 students in the district were registered to attend school virtually for the first nine weeks, said Miller. Typically the district has 1,875 students enrolled.

“I think we just need to continue what we’ve been doing in the way of communication and being supportive of one another and doing our best to make sure when we attend school we are in the best health we can be,” said Miller. “No matter how things turn out from day to day, we’re going to do the best we can for students and for our community.”

The district is working to make sure kids who still need to register for the fall semester are able to do so.

“If they need us, call us,” she said. “We’re very busy, so if they don’t get us on the first try, call again. We’re here to support everybody.”

The day went smoothly at the Picayune School District as well, said Superintendent Dean Shaw.

“It was obvious that a lot of people did a lot of praying for our school district today,” Shaw said.

Shaw and Assistant Superintendent Walt Esslinger made several visits to the various campuses within the district Thursday, and said staff members seemed pleased with how the school day went.

“It was a great day and everyone was glad to be back I think,” said Esslinger.

There were no issues with students on Thursday, Shaw said.

“We’re really appreciative of our parents, our students, our staff and principals,” he said.

Of the 2,400 students enrolled in the Picayune School District, 45 attended their first day of school virtually.