MDE COVID-19 Guidance to Districts as of April 22, 2020

Covid-19 Updates for Districts

NCAA Guidance on Eligibility

The NCAA has released updated guidance for initial-eligibility criteria for graduating high school seniors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This guidance is in the form of an FAQ document and addresses questions you may have around:

  • core courses,
  • pass-fail grades,
  • minimum GPA,
  • standardized assessment (SAT/ACT) requirements,
  • distance and e-Learning programs,
  • submission of academic documents, and
  • academic evaluations

If you have any questions for the Mississippi Department of Education, please contact Dr. Marla Davis, Bureau Director, Office of Secondary Education at  If you have immediate questions for the NCAA that were not addressed in this FAQ, please call 877-262-1492 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday.

Family Survey on Internet and Digital Access
As school closures continue and as the state plans to direct resources to the areas of greatest need, the MDE is preparing a brief set of survey questions for districts to circulate to their families. The questions address families’ ability to connect their children through the internet to digital learning offerings from their school. The questions will focus on devices at home, home internet access, and the quality/reliability of that connection. The MDE will be asking districts to circulate the survey questions through their existing communication channels, and then compile and return their aggregated results to the MDE. These aggregated results by district will be shared with the governor’s office for planning purposes. Watch for the survey questions from MDE by the end of this week.

April 23 Webinar and Free Resources from Edmentum for School Closures

E-Learning Resource Page:, includes a variety of free webinars, printable resources, templates, e-learning best practices, and more.

Flippen Group Virtual Sessions for Coaches 
The Flippen Group, which trained many of us on “Capturing Kids Hearts”, is sponsoring a free six-week, virtual-coaching experience for coaches and their student-athletes.  The Flippen Group has designed six sessions (Spring Training with Coach McCoy) to ignite inspiration, maintain team unity, and foster personal growth during these unprecedented times. The training will be conducted every Thursday, at 3 p.m. CT, beginning April 23, 2020 and concluding on May 28, 2020. 

Each session will feature nationally recognized collegiate coaches, professional coaches, and athletes who are experts in strength and conditioning, etc. The first guest is NCAA Football National Champion and Coach of the Year recipient, Mack Brown, University of North Carolina. The topic will be, “Staying Disciplined When Normal Changes.” Link to register: 

Latest Research from Hanover 
District leaders are feeling pressure to determine the right path forward for the next several months – how to manage and engage staff remotely, how to reopen the fall semester, and how to combat summer learning loss – but several unanswered questions remain. Below is a summary of Hanover’s latest research on emerging topics and, as always, we are here to support you with any question you may have. 



  • New Educator Learning Center – Hanover’s new online professional learning platform equips districts with sustained and interactive professional learning for remote teachers. Our current course material includes four priority areas – social-emotional learning, culturally-responsive teaching, instruction design, and multi-tiered systems of support.
  • Climate Pulse Survey – Our research staff has developed a survey instrument that enables district leaders to assess their services and support on a regular basis so they can adjust what they are doing to meet their stakeholders’ needs.
  • Request Best Practices – As a member, you can request research on any topic. Hanover will present this information in briefs, toolkits, or infographics for distribution to different stakeholder groups. Recent requests include Financial Recovery Research Brief, Online Equity Best Practices, Tier 2 and 3 Virtual Learning.


  • Weekly Superintendents Leadership Council – Hanover hosts a weekly virtual forum every Thursday evening at 8pm ET, to provide an opportunity for superintendents and district leaders to gather, ask questions, and share solutions. This week’s session will be run in collaboration with the Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA). Register here to learn how your peers are navigating change.
  • Operations Leadership Council – We will host a quarterly virtual forum on “District Management in the Face of Enrollment Shifts” today, (4/22) at 1:30pm ET with heads of finance and operations. There is still time – register here to join the conversation.

Message to Superintendents from the U.S. Department of Education Student Privacy Policy Office: Annual Notice to SEAs and LEAs re: Obligations under FERPA and PPRA 

I write to you on behalf of the Student Privacy Policy Office (SPPO), formerly called the Family Policy Compliance Office, of the U.S. Department of Education (Department) to provide the notification required by Section 1061(c)(5)(C) of the No Child Left Behind Act (which amended Section 445 of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232h(c)(5)(C)). This notification is required to inform State educational agencies (SEAs) and local educational agencies (LEAs), as recipients of funds under programs administered by the Department, of their obligations under theFamily Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) and theProtection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232h; 34 CFR Part 98). FERPA protects the privacy interests and access rights of parents and students in education records maintained by educational agencies and institutions or by persons acting for such agencies or institutions. PPRA affords parents and students with rights concerning specified marketing activities, the administration or distribution of certain surveys to students, the administration of certain physical examinations or screenings to students, and parental access to certain instructional materials including ones used as part of a student’s educational curriculum. This letter serves as the cover letter to the Department’s annual notification, which has not substantively changed since it was last issued and may be accessed at 

I also write to share the following SPPO resources regarding FERPA during this time of social distancing due to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as educational agencies and institutions have transitioned to remote learning to educate their students:

Finally, FERPA-covered educational agencies and institutions and PPRA-covered LEAs may wish to review and, if appropriate, revise their policies and procedures, and their notifications under FERPA and PPRA to provide parents and students with information about any revisions necessitated by changes to their operations during this period. 

Specifically, FERPA-covered educational agencies and institutions should review and, if appropriate, revise: (1) the criteria specified in their annual notification of FERPA rights (in accordance with 34 CFR § 99.7(a)(3)(iii)) as to who constitutes a school official and what constitutes a legitimate educational interest in order to permit the non-consensual disclosure of personally identifiable information from education records to school officials who have been determined to have legitimate educational interests under the school official exception (i.e., 34 CFR § 99.31(a)(1)); and, (2) their directory information policies under FERPA (i.e., 34 CFR §§ 99.31(a)(11) and 99.37(a)). Both the directory information and school official exceptions to the general requirement of consent under FERPA are particularly important during this time of remote learning. LEAs most commonly use the school official exception to permit disclosures under FERPA for the use of video or other technology applications and tools. Provided certain conditions are met, the directory information exception permits disclosure of information contained in a student’s education records that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed, such as the student’s name, address, phone number, photo image, and email address, including in connection with remote learning. 

SPPO encourages LEAs to post on their websites their FERPA and PPRA notifications and policies to improve the transparency of information on student privacy. See your educational institutions are conducting remote learning for your students, we also encourage you to work with your attorneys and information security specialists to review prospective technology applications and tools against FERPA requirements. 

We are available to assist you with your student privacy questions about FERPA and PPRA. You may contact us by submitting your questions to our student privacy help desk at 

Do You Have Questions for MDE? 
Please check the 
MDE COVID-19 Information webpage before emailing your questions to MDE staff. The answers to most of the questions we receive are addressed on the webpage. We also regularly add guidance, answers to new questions and links to our daily update email on this webpage. Daily updates are posted in the Administrator News section of the EdUpdate.