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.
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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.