Gov. Tate Reeves

Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday issued a state-wide mandate that Mississippians wear masks in public and an executive order to delay in-person learning for students in 7th through 12th grade in schools in seven counties, not including Hancock.

The school districts included in the order were Bolivar, Coahoma, Forrest, George,Hinds, Panola, Sunflower and Washington counties.

Hancock County schools are scheduled to go back into session this Thursday, Aug. 3. The Bay-Waveland School District had originally planned to begin the new school year Thursday, but last month delayed the start of the academic year until after Labor Day.

“These are hard times, and hard times require hard truth,” Reeves said Tuesday. “We cannot and will not prevent everyone from acquiring COVID-19.”

However, he said, he wants everyone to wear a mask at public gatherings for the next two weeks.

Reeves' order Tuesday also requires masks in schools for both students and teachers.

He also urged everyone to stay home whenever possible.

"If we can all just behave for the next two weeks," he said, we have an opportunity to slow the spread of the virus and ease the burden on hospitals statewide.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs -- who earlier in the day issued a "stay-at-home" order to anyone who has tested positive for the virus -- echoed Reeves' entreaty to avoid public gatherings over the next two weeks.

Dobbs said he approaches everyone he meets as if he or she has the virus, and said everyone should do the same.

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