Can parents expect to hear about a higher than average number of COVID-19 cases and quarantines in DeSoto County Schools?
Because DeSoto County Schools has the highest student enrollment of any school district in Mississippi, the number of confirmed cases and quarantines is likely to be higher than the numbers in other school districts. The enrollment for DeSoto County Schools for the 2019-2020 school year was over 34,000 students. 132 of the other 137 school districts in Mississippi have an enrollment of less than 10,000 students, and 7.5% of public school students in Mississippi attend DeSoto County Schools.
Is it acceptable for my child to attend school if he/she has a pending COVID test?
No. In order to protect staff members and other students, parents should keep their child at home if he/she has a pending COVID test or if he/she is showing COVID symptoms. If the student attends school, he/she could increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission and cause several students to be quarantined for 14 days by the Mississippi State Department of Health. If the student has a negative test, the student can return to school.
If my child has a positive COVID test, what should I do?
Parents should provide the school with documentation of the positive test, and students should follow all guidelines issued by the Mississippi State Department of Health. The school will communicate with the Mississippi State Department of Health regarding "close contact" procedures. The student and "close contacts" will be instructed by the Mississippi State Department of Health to quarantine at home.
Will parents be contacted when students and/or staff members have confirmed COVID cases?
Parents will be contacted by school officials via email if their child has a class with a student or staff member who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. Parents will be given instructions from the Mississippi State Department of Health on how to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.
When does the Mississippi State Department of Health quarantine students for 14 days?
The Mississippi State Department of Health defines a “close contact” as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes. If a student is identified by the Mississippi State Department of Health as a “close contact”, the child’s parent will be notified by school officials after receiving directions from the Mississippi State Department of Health. Close contacts are instructed by the Mississippi State Department of Health to quarantine at home for 14 days and monitor symptoms.
If my child is given orders by the Mississippi State Department of Health to be quarantined at home for 14 days, will he/she have an opportunity to complete assignments and be marked as "present"?
Yes. Quarantined students will have an opportunity to complete assignments and be marked present under the same guidelines as the full-time distance learning students.
How has state and national guidance changed since the Return-to-Learn Plan was released on July 8th?
Governor Tate Reeves issued Executive Order 1517 which requires face coverings to be worn in schools by everyone over the age of 5. Parents must provide their children with masks to be worn on the bus and at school. This Executive Order is in effect until schools receive further notice from the Governor.
Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) changed regarding students returning to school after having COVID-19 symptoms. This updated guidance is attached to this email and it has been added to the Return-to-Learn Plan on the district website.
Is a hybrid schedule possible at middle schools and high schools?
If the number of cases and quarantines make it difficult for a school to operate on a regular schedule, a hybrid schedule could be implemented at specific middle schools and specific high schools. Because of the size of the school district, decisions regarding hybrid schedules and closures will be made on a campus-by-campus basis if at all possible.