COVID-19 cases within Poplarville School District

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 4, 2020

The Poplarville School District has had 10 students and four staff members test positive for COVID-19 as of Aug. 28, with no outbreaks so far.

The district releases a weekly count of their COVID-19 cases on its website. Superintendent Konya Miller said she believes the precautions the district is taking have worked so far because of consistent application. The precautions being taken include social distancing, face masks, masks and shields for teachers, frequent hand sanitizer use and temperature screenings upon entering a school, according to previous coverage.

“So far things have gone better than expected, and I think that’s a community effort. I’m sure everybody’s getting tired. Endurance is going to be the key to all this,” said Miller.

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Approximately 40 students are at home in quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure. Whether a positive case results in having to quarantine people varies, depending on if the positive case is in a staff member or student, if the person was moving around the classroom or if they were sitting. If a teacher tests positive, typically the district would then have to quarantine the teacher’s entire class, said Miller.

Out of the 10 students who have tested positive, six came from three families, said Miller.

“When it hits a household pretty much everyone in the household ends up with it,” she said.

Out of 1,700 students in the district, 324 are signed up for virtual learning, said Miller. The number is about what the district anticipated. Students are able to make a decision about whether they want to learn virtually or in the classroom at the beginning of each nine week period.

However, when students are struggling to meet expectations with virtual learning, sometimes they are asked to return to the physical classroom, said Miller.

The district is having some attendance issues among virtual students and issues with distance learning students not submitting assignments, said Miller.

“The majority are, but we do have some that are not meeting expectations,” she said.

Other districts statewide are dealing with similar attendance issues when it comes to virtual learning, she said, and superintendents are supposed to attend a webinar Friday for some additional guidelines on the issue.

The Mississippi Department of Education issued a press release Tuesday reminding parents that school attendance is compulsory, and for home school students a certificate of enrollment has to be submitted to the school attendance officer by Sept. 15.

The Poplarville football team will have its first game of the season Friday. It will be a home game, but be played at the Pearl River Community College Stadium. Audience is limited to 25 percent of the stadium’s capacity.

Students participating in football, band and cheer got the opportunity to purchase two tickets each for their family to attend the game. Then, anyone else was able to purchase tickets until Thursday afternoon. Any available left over tickets will be sold at the stadium.