At least 122 people in one Mississippi school district have been told to self-quarantine for 14 days after several students tested positive for COVID-19 less than two weeks after the return of in-person classes, officials said Thursday.
Since students and staff of the Corinth School District returned to campus on July 27, eight cases of coronavirus have been reported, said Taylor Coombs, a district spokeswoman.
Of those, six are students at Corinth High School, one is a student at Corinth Middle school and one is a staff member at Corinth Elementary School, Coombs said.
“We believe that most of these earlier cases are the result of community transmission, which further highlights the need for all community members to adopt and practice recommended safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” Superintendent Lee Childress said in a statement.
“Schools will only be as safe as the community in which they operate,” Childress said.
The more than 100 people were found to have been in close contact with those who tested positive — meaning they were within 6 feet of them for longer than 15 minutes.
“As we have identified positive cases, the contact tracing procedures have worked as we isolate students to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus,” Coombs said.
“Contact tracing and seating charts have been vital to our quarantine process.”
Student that are quarantined are able to continue to attend classes through a virtual learning program.
Of the 2,700 students enrolled in district schools, about 15 percent had chosen to do virtual learning instead of traditional attendance when classes got back into session.
The district spokeswoman added that nurses and others have been “working diligently to ensure the safety” of staff and students “through routine screenings and new building procedures.”
Those include students and staff being screened daily upon entering the building with temperature checks. Staff also have to answer questions daily about if they have had symptoms in the past few days.
All staff, parents and volunteers are required to wear face coverings in school buildings, and teachers also have to do the same in common areas and during all student interactions, according to district guidance.
This was even before Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves instituted a mandatory mask mandate, which went into effect Wednesday.