MS Schools NOT REQUIRED to Report COVID-19 Cases to Public, Some Districts Won’t

JACKSON, Mississippi – According to Governor Tate Reeves statements in a press conference today, the state will not require schools to inform the public when students and teachers test positive for coronavirus.

The reopening guidelines put forth by Reeves and distributed by the Mississippi State Department of Health state that schools should notify teachers and parents of students who have been in contact with an infected individual, but does not require them to inform the school or community at large.

Corinth School District was the first district in the state to reopen, and it reported eight cases across three campuses in the first week of school. Dozens of its students are now quarantined in an effort to prevent further spread of the virus. The district posted a press release on its official website, notifying not only students who came into contact with the positive cases, but any member of the community that cared to look.

But according to Reeves’ press conference today – it didn’t have to.

“I don’t know that there is a specific guideline in place that i’m aware of,” Reeves said in the press conference. “It certainly speaks very highly [of Corinth School District] that they’re doing it and I think that all school districts should.”

Some districts, like Jackson County and Biloxi Public Schools have already announced that they do not intend to inform the broader community of new COVID-19 cases in their districts, vowing only to notify persons who have come into contact with infected individuals and may need quarantine and/or testing.

Jackson Country School District’s superintendent, John Strycker, has been alarmingly noncommittal about his intentions when faced with the inevitability of COVID-19 cases in his area. He recently explained that students who have come into contact with an infected person in his district will be advised to monitor symptoms and consider getting tested, but they will not automatically be required to quarantine.

“It will be situation by situation,” he said.

Aleigh Farris

Aleigh Farris is a writer, performer, and small business owner from Tupelo, Mississippi. You can hear her work on the upcoming podcasts Radio Analekta and Once Shattered.

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