Students test positive for Covid-19 in the first week of school

Schools in Mississippi and Georgia issue quarantines after students and faculty tested positive for Covid-19 less than two weeks into the school year.

In the Corinth School District in Corinth, Mississippi, 116 students have been quarantined after six students and one staff member were found to have the novel coronavirus at Corinth High School.

In a statement to the Hill, Corinth’s Superintendent Edward Lee Childress said he believes that the infections are a “result of community transmission” that show a disconnect between public practice and how the district implements their Covid-19 plans. He assured that “teachers and students are teaching and learning while practicing many enhanced safety measures.” 

According to Superintendent Childress, the district engaged parents for 10 weeks and posted information on the modified schedule they introduced this year. School began on July 27 in Corinth, but their official guide, “Reopening, Redesigning, and Reimagining Learning,” was posted online on July 10, just 17 days before school started. 

Superintendent Lee says that in spite Covid-19 cases, “our schools are still open, teachers are teaching.”

When Covid-19 hit the US, Mississippi’s Gov. Jonathon Tate Reeves refused to implement stricter mandates. Rather than order a complete shut down, Gov. Reeves held prayer sessions on Facebook. Weeks later, a surge hit the state.

This week, Gov. Reeves issued a state mandate to wear masks because he wants “to see college football.” His rationale in seeing it was that “the best way for that to occur is for us all to realize is that wearing a mask, as irritating as that can be & I promise I hate it more than anyone watching, is critical.

Georgia: Masks on my mind

A few states over in Georgia, a second-grader at Sixes Elementary School in Canton, tested positive two days into the new school year. Barbara P. Jacoby, chief communications officer for Cherokee County School District said the student did not show any signs.

So far, nine staff members tested positive across the county. Jacoby told 11 Alive local news that “Masks are not mandated for students [but] they are strongly encouraged and recommended.” Yet and still, practicing social distancing at schools might be harder than imagined. Pictures from a Georgia school taken by a student show classes where students sit in close quarters, and walk in packed hallways.

The state’s Gov. Brian Kemp also displayed lax regulations during Covid-19. In July, he even filed a lawsuit against Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for requiring the wearing of masks in the state’s capital. Several weeks later, he withdrew his request as cases in Georgia spiked again.

Mayor Bottoms and her family tested positive for Covid-19 in July. Her children will be in online learning come the new year.

The country is watching how both districts deal with the cases, as they remain open. In the meantime, students in close proximity to those infected have been placed under quarantine and will take classes online.

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