Kemper Academy opens 50th school year on Monday


Kemper Academy will be celebrating its 50th year as it scheduled to open the 2020-2021 school year next week.

The school staff has been working to prepare the school building to re-open during the Coronavirus pandemic. Like other schools in Mississippi, Kemper Academy closed for the spring holidays back in March. Students did not return for classes because of COVID-19.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” said headmistress Mary Ellen Waters, “But we do think it best for these children to re-engage. Our class sizes are small enough where we think we can socially distance.

“We are starting right now with around 160 students, which is down from last year. We graduated a large class in the spring and did not pickup as many in our pre-k.”

Waters said most of the classes in the elementary school have around 10 students, making it easy to space them out.

“They stay in the same room,” Waters said “They don’t switch classes and will eat breakfast and lunch there.

“Our high school is a little bit more complicated, Our classes are larger. We will wear masks during transition times when we are in the hallways or in groups. But we won’t be wearing masks inside of the classrooms.”

One of the first priorities of the new school year will be to make sure everyone is where they should be, academically.

“We ended with basically a 75 percent year,” Waters said. “We didn’t complete all of the programs we had last year. Our teachers will handle looking at what our students missed. They are better able to address how they catch them up.”

Waters said the school will continue to keep its music program, the art program, PE and library. They are planning to play football and softball season has already started.

“We have more stringent disinfection rules, but we are going to have everything that we have had in the past,” Waters said, “We are going to have a Christmas musical program this year, and homecoming is going to be a big deal this year as we celebrate our school’s 50th year.

“We want to get back to our new normal. We feel that it is better for the children.”

The school is holding a two-day open house this week for the different classes. Orientation will be the Friday and school starts on Monday.

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