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Schools in one Mississippi town just reopened – guess what happened next

Coronavirus update
  • The latest coronavirus update from the school district in Corinth, Mississippi, is not surprising.
  • Barely a week after schools reopened, more than 100 students have already been sent home to quarantine themselves, and half a dozen positive coronavirus cases in the student body have already been identified as of the time of this writing.
  • Experts are worried that Mississippi is becoming a new coronavirus hotspot state in the US.

The latest coronavirus update out of Mississippi, and specifically the town of Corinth where schools just reopened last week, should surprise absolutely no one.

By the end of the first week of school, one student had tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. That spurred the district to send more than 100 students home to quarantine and make sure they don’t have the virus. Just a few days later, the district’s total number of infected students had climbed to six, along with one staff member having tested positive for the virus since the start of school on July 27. “If you were notified,” reads an update the district posted on Facebook, “your child will need to quarantine for 14 days from the last known contact with the individuals. While quarantining your child may not attend school or any school activities. However, they should continue working digitally in order to be counted present.”

One person in the comments section of that post speculated that since it was only the 10th day of school attendance at that point, and given that it can take up to 14 days for a COVID-19 infection to be confirmed, the students may have contracted the virus before school began and inadvertently brought it onto campus. “Whether they did or didnt,” the comment continues, “we as Parents need to continue to drill it in our children’s head the importance of social distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap often. Pray for all students and (faculty).”

This kind of outcome, nevertheless, was to be expected. Reopening schools for in-person learning not only subjects schoolchildren to the role of essentially being guinea pigs for experiments about how to deal and live with the virus — it’s also arguably foolhardy to try this in a state like Mississippi.

As we noted in a previous post, Mississippi is one of two states that experts are starting to regard as one of the new coronavirus hotspots in the US. Mississippi’s daily number of new coronavirus cases,  for example, has doubled, going from 639 on July 1 to 1,178 just one month later. Covid Act now also puts Mississippi’s positive coronavirus test rate at 23.3%.

The Corinth school district, meanwhile, has a student population of 2,700 and says it doesn’t currently plan to walk back the reopening of schools.

District spokesperson Taylor Coombs told CBS News on Thursday that 116 students have been sent home to quarantine for two weeks. Those students were said to have been at some point in “close contact” with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, “meaning they were within six feet for 15 minutes or longer.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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