The Mississippi State Board of Education (SBE) voted Thursday to allow school districts to use hybrid scheduling if needed to minimize the current spread of COVID-19.The hybrid scheduling option is available immediately and will extend through March 11, 2022. Hybrid scheduling enables districts to reduce the number of students in schools each day by scheduling a portion of students to learn online. Hybrid scheduling can only be used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.The SBE based its decision on COVID-19 infection data from the Mississippi State Department of Health. The SBE may consider extending the option beyond March 11 if data show it is needed. The decision came as the State Health Department reported more than 8,000 new COVID cases for the second day in a row. Thursday’s report includes 159 new cases in Neshoba County, 46 in Leake County and 31 in Attala County.