Some schools in Mississippi, Indiana and Georgia have already been forced to go virtual. Some hope to return to in-person learning when the number of cases decreases.
Just this week, two Atlanta-area elementary schools sent some or all of the students home for virtual learning. Kemp Elementary School in Clayton County said it will “operate in a virtual learning environment for the rest of the week,” as a precaution. And fifth-grade students at East Side Elementary in Cobb County have also been sent home and won’t return to in-person learning until at least August 23.
“This morning, based on our district protocols and on the advice of the Ministry of Public Health in coordination with the district leaders, we had to make the difficult decision to switch our 5th grade classes to virtual learning. due to the ongoing COVID. -19 pandemic and high positive case count, ”according to a district email sent to parents and obtained by CNN.
Two other schools in Clayton County, Pointe South Middle School and North Clayton High School, had already started the year virtually due to the quarantine of a number of staff.
“This temporary transition to virtual / home learning will allow existing Covid-19 quarantines to expire and allow time for the spread of Covid-19 to slow down,” the announcement said. “In addition, this period will provide time to implement improved mitigation measures and re-establish a hybrid teaching model for the remainder of the fall semester. “
In Indiana, Scott County School District 1 told parents on Tuesday that “due to the high rate of positive cases and the extremely high rate of students in quarantine,” the district would switch to in-person learning Wednesday, according to the district’s Facebook page. The district said it hopes to resume teaching in person on August 23.
Several schools in Lamar County, Mississippi, switched to virtual learning before the county school board voted in favor of a hybrid model to help fight the increase in cases. Superintendent Steven Hampton proposed the hybrid schedule at a board meeting on Monday, saying he believed face-to-face learning was best, a hybrid model would help prevent all schools from being virtual.
“Face-to-face learning is the best way for our kids to learn, but I just don’t feel like it’s safe,” Hampton said.
The district said a group of students will attend school every Monday and Wednesday and every other Friday. A second group will go to school every Tuesday and Thursday and will tour on Friday.
Schools hope to review restrictions if cases drop
Cases have also increased in schools across the state. More than 1,300 students, teachers and school staff in Mississippi have tested positive for Covid since the start of the school year, according to the state’s health department. More than 4,000 students have been quarantined and nearly 800 students have tested positive for Covid-19 from August 2 to 6, according to data.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has left the mask warrants to local courts. CNN affiliate WAPT reported that Reeves recently called the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask guide change “stupid and harmful” in a recent speech, saying “it didn’t. nothing to do with rational science ”.
Some schools in the state require masks, others do not. But the 80 outbreaks in the state’s 342 schools led some districts to change their policies just at the start of the school year. The Rankin County School District rolled back its policy of requiring masks on Monday.
“As you know, our hopes were to stay in school while ‘strongly recommending masks’ and using other prevention strategies. However, the number of positive cases and quarantines of students and staff has become a concern after just two days of opening the school, ”the district said in a statement posted on its website.
The district says it will reassess the situation on Aug. 25 to see if it can “come back” to recommending “masks at this point.”
“While we know it will not be a popular decision, please understand the difficulty of the situation,” the district said. “We need to base this decision on the safety of our students and employees and on keeping schools open. “
The Pearl River County School District revised its plans this week to require school masks for students ages 6 and older. The district will also reassess on August 25.
Missouri pediatricians called on state schools to implement mask mandates this week. The Missouri chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics echoed the recommendations of the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, saying it encourages “anyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, should be hidden inside, including in the school environment ”.
“It is essential that we continue to place layers of protection around children as the pandemic continues,” Dr Kristin Sohl, section chair and pediatrician, said in a statement. “Children can, in fact, contract COVID-19; they get sick, and more of them are hospitalized for treatment. Implementing mitigation strategies such as masking, immunization, testing and proper cleaning is essential to keep our school communities safe.