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Poplarville School Board of Trustees swears in new member

The Poplarville School Board of Trustees swore in a new member and approved an update to the district’s face mask policy at their regular meeting Monday.

Winston Herndon was sworn in as a new Board member Monday night, replacing Clelly Farmer, who joined the Board in March. Herndon was appointed by the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors to serve on the school board. Herndon taught construction at the Picayune Career and Technology Center. After 31 years teaching, he said it was different to be on the school board side of education.

“Great district, great leadership, so I’m excited just to be a part of it,” he said.

In a separate matter, the Board approved updates to several district policies, including face mask usage. The district will continue to follow the governor’s face mask mandate, which requires people to wear face masks when in public. The governor extended the mandate until the end of September.

However, once the mask mandate ends, face masks will be required for staff and strongly encouraged for students. The district originally had this policy in its restart plan, but changed it to make masks mandatory for everyone in schools before the start of the semester.

The Board also approved the district plan to ensure mastery of content for the school year. The plan outlines that virtual and in person learners will be held to the same expectations, said Superintendent Konya Miller. It also outlines a reduction in the number of minutes the state requires students to complete for a credit for the 2020-2021 school year, but the course content requirements have not changed.

The Mississippi State Department of Education reduced the number of daily instructional hours required from five and a half to four hours per day for the 2020-2021 school year to give districts more flexibility due to COVID-19. MDE also gave school districts the ability to waive the instructional time requirements to receive credit in high school classes if the district “develops a plan to ensure students master the course content,” according to a June press release.

The district and high school test security plans were also approved. Since the ACT in the spring was cancelled, the District will offer the make up test in October, said Miller, and needed to get the test security plans approved before the make up test is offered.

The next Board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 12 at 6 p.m. in the district office boardroom.