School is in session, with some practicing virtual learning, but the majority have returned to a traditional model with safety precautions and social distancing where possible. Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash
Coronavirus infections in Mississippi’s schools remain steady as September continues, growing by similar rates week to week. Cumulative weekly data from the Mississippi State Department of Health show that as of Sept. 4, the school year has seen at least 1,345 student infections spread across the state and at least 719 infections among teachers and other staff members.
At the start of this school year, MSDH asked schools to self-report COVID-19 exposures and infections, and then the department aggregates it. The data do not necessarily reflect schools as the place of infection—only that the infected students attended school.
Schools have seen an average of 181 teacher and staff infections per week, while student infections have averaged 332 per week. The current tally of 2,601 infections has, in turn, resulted in more than 20,000 quarantines of students and staff. As of Sept. 4’s report, 18,825 students and 2,602 staff were quarantined. That averages to 4,706 students and 650 staff per week, spread across reporting schools.
Not all schools report every week, so totals remain incomplete. The state has 1,063 schools, but MSDH has only collected data from between 720 and 861 schools each week.
Meanwhile, Mississippi saw an uptick in COVID-19 cases and deaths toward the end of this week. MSDH reported 701 new cases on Thursday with 24 additional deaths, while Wednesday saw 711 new cases and 22 more fatalities. Friday’s numbers are not available as of press time.
Gov. Tate Reeves relaxed some restrictions on retail and dining outlets this week, while extending the statewide mask order through September. Repeatedly, state health leadership has warned that successfully containing the growth of coronavirus cannot be a signal to abandon precautions against the virus.
The Jackson Free Press’ updated guide on coronavirus infection control is available here.
Read the JFP’s coverage of COVID-19 at jacksonfreepress.com/covid19. Get more details on preventive measures here. Email state intern Julian Mills at [email protected].