Coming off the holiday season, the Petal School District has seen a slight uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases among its five schools, but the new numbers are still relatively low and what officials expected.
For the week of January 3-7, the district’s 4,278 students saw 52 new positive cases and 175 new quarantines. Among the 670 staff members, there were 27 positive new cases, along with nine new quarantines.
“With the new variant, and all the research that we did during the Christmas break, and just due to the nature of traveling for Christmas and New Year’s and all that, we knew we would be dealing with some of the challenges of that,” district superintendent Matt Dillon. “It’s nowhere near what we dealt with in August, and as of right now, we continue to follow our Return To School Plan.
“The numbers we experienced on (Jan. 5), our first day back with students, we’re inheriting those numbers off the holidays, and then (the next two days) we monitored those numbers really closely going into this week. We’re just trying to be as safe and diligent as possible as we continue to move forward.”
The numbers for each school are as follows:
- Petal Primary School: Home to 1,086 students and 142 staff members. The school saw seven new positive cases and 46 new quarantines among students, along with eight new positives and one new quarantine among staff.
- Petal Elementary School: Home to 606 students and 75 staff members. The school saw eight new positive cases and 31 quarantines among students, along with three new positive cases and one new quarantine among staff.
- Petal Upper Elementary School: Home to 615 students and 73 staff members. The school saw five new positive cases and 25 new quarantines among students, along with three new positives and three new quarantines among staff.
- Petal Middle School: Home to 749 students and 78 staff members. The school saw 16 new positive cases and 29 new quarantines among students, along with two new positive cases and two new quarantines among staff.
- Petal High School: Home to 1,222 students and 134 staff members. The school saw 16 new positive cases and 44 new quarantines among students, along with eight new positive cases and one new quarantine among staff.
- The district’s 168 support staff members saw three new positive cases and one new quarantine.
“What I’ve noticed is, Tuesday through Friday, most consistently across most weeks, we’ve been able to decrease, with our protocols, transmission (of the virus),” Dillon said. “So it’s something that we obviously take very seriously.
“We try to distance as much as possible within reason. At the same time, we are moving forward to try to provide the best quality education and athletic opportunities for our students and families.”