Warren County schools planning to follow state guidelines regarding Delta variant

Published 11:24 am Friday, July 23, 2021

The clock is ticking — the start of a new school year is fast approaching, and schools in Warren County are preparing for the return of staff and students. 

Although COVID-19 cases have begun to surge after a quiet summer, schools in the county will be returning to in-person learning, with Aug. 6 being the start date for the Vicksburg Warren School District. 

The first day for Vicksburg Catholic School will be Aug. 9 followed by Porters Chapel Academy on Aug. 11. 

Representatives from both the VWSD and VCS said they will be following the guidance given from the  Mississippi State Department of Health Public Health Guidance for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 transmission in Mississippi K-12 school setting guidelines. 

And in addition to following the state’s guidance, St. Francis principal Mary Arledge said the VCS will also adhere to MAIS and Mississippi Diocese policies. 

While PCA will be returning to in-person learning, as far as school policies which relate to covid, head of school Chris Williams said as of right now, he cannot give an answer as to what PCA will do. 

“I am waiting on our administration to make a decision and we want to talk to some others who are in the MAIS,” Williams said. 

VWSD director of communications Christ Kilroy said the district would continue to follow the state guidance unless there was a “directive from the governor.” 

The MSDH Public Health Guidance states all eligible students, teachers and staff 12 years of age and older should receive COVID-19 vaccination.

This is not a mandate, but with the new Delta variant being twice as contagious as the other variants, Mississippi Department of Health Chief Medical Officer and local physician Daniel Edney said because it spreads faster, children are at a greater risk of contracting the virus than they were before.

“But they still tolerate it much better than those who are older,” Edney said. 

However, Edney said, doctors are seeing some very ill children and there has been one death in the 17 and younger age group.  

“But we have lost no children down to age 12 with the vaccine,” he said.  

 Vaccines will also protect children who may experience COVID-19 in a more aggressive form that can produce autoimmune disorder-like reactions, Edney said.  

“Vaccines will also make school safer, and children won’t be sent home every time you turn around with exposures,” he said, since those who are vaccinated do not have to quarantine.   

The MSDH guidance states masks should be worn indoors in school settings by all individuals ages two and older who are not fully vaccinated. 

Children who have been vaccinated do not have to wear a mask, Edney said.  

While masks are not recommended for fully vaccinated individuals, The MSDH guidance said schools may consider universal masking of all students, teachers and staff as an additional layer of prevention. 

Children make up a large part of the population, Edney said, “And if we don’t get them vaccinated, it will be hard to fight our way out of this thing.”   

For more information on the MSDH Public Health Guidance for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in K-12 settings, visit www.msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/14912.pdf. 

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

email author More by Terri Cowart