JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – For nearly a year, students in the Jackson-metro area have had to learn from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. When they returned to the classroom during the 2020-2021 school year, many Pre-K students continued to learn virtually.
Out of the 900 free seats for Pre-K students in the Jackson Public School District, only about 200 have been filled so far for the upcoming school year.
“Mostly, it was the pandemic. Most parents with children as young as four just really wanted to sit on the side of caution, really wanted to make sure their children are in a safe place,” explained Dr. Shoutell Richardson, principal of Van Winkle Elementary School.
Leaders said COVID-19 precautions have been in place throughout the district, but it still hasn’t been enough to convince parents to send their children back to school.
“If they come to Pre-K, they are much more likely to do well in kindergarten, 3rd grade and much more likely to graduate. So we are really hoping to get all these seats filled,” said Dr. Sara Harper, principal of McWillie Elementary School.
Some parents hope to see more kids in the classroom this fall.
“Just let your guards down just a little and bring them to school,” said Patricia Stokes.
On Saturday, June 5, two Pre-K registration fairs will be held for kids in Jackson who turn four by September 1, 2021. The fairs will be from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
“There will be two locations, at McWillie Elementary for North Jackson residents and at Van Winkle Elementary for South Jackson residents,” said Harper.
There will be activities for both the parents and prospective students. Parents can attend either event, and their child will be placed in a school based on their address after registration is complete.