Following guidelines from the Mississippi Department of Health, Sumrall High School will transition to at-home learning only – with no on-campus or extracurricular activities – amidst an unspecified number of COVID-19 cases.
Steven Hampton, superintendent of the Lamar County School District, said the at-home measure took effect Oct. 15, and students and faculty will be able to resume the traditional setting on Oct. 29. Under the MDE’s October guidelines, if a campus has three or more individual classroom settings that experience simultaneous outbreaks, school officials must consider shutting down or dismissing the school.
“We met those qualifications of having three or more outbreaks in one setting, like the classroom, an extracurricular group, or any type of defined group or building,” Hampton said. “Under No. 4 (of the guidelines), in the event of a school dismissal, extracurricular groups or large events, such as performances and sporting events, should also be cancelled.
“Essentially, these kids are quarantined for the next 14 days due to having three or more outbreaks in that school setting.”
Hampton said the school dealt with several positive COVID cases this week, and on Oct. 14, met the qualifications for consideration for dismissal. All the positive cases that were traced showed the outbreaks occurred at activities or events that were not sanctioned by the school.
“There was a parent-led homecoming dance, and there was a parent-organized homecoming parade, and we did not have any involvement in those activities,” Hampton said. “So we feel this is the timeline, with the onset of symptoms, it’s because of some outside activities that we have to do this.
“Safety is number one, for our students, staff and faculty; safety is the first and foremost in everything we do. It’s not easy to make that decision, and it’s not easy to organize. It’s not a decision I wanted to make; it’s a decision we had to make because of those guidelines.”