During the Lamar County Board of Education’s Sept. 14 meeting, new superintendent Steven Hampton took the opportunity to give an update on schools throughout the district, including enrollment numbers and other measures being taken on campuses.
As of Sept. 11, the district – which includes 19 schools – had an enrollment of 10,356 students, down from last year’s number of 10,677.
“We have about 321 students fewer this year than we did last year,” Hampton said. “After looking at where those fewer numbers are, we’re seeing a stable number in our middle schools and high schools, and we’re seeing lower numbers in our elementaries.
“We attribute that to parents homeschooling their children, and also keeping kindergartners home at this time, during our COVID situation.”
Approximately 74.2 percent of the district’s students are attending school traditionally, while 25.8 percent of students are learning virtually.
Because of changes in the federal guideline, district officials are able to continue the summer feeding program, which allows all students in the district to eat breakfast and lunch free of charge until Dec. 31.
“We’re very excited about that,” Hampton said.
Regarding athletics, district officials have been complying with the governor’s mandate of 25 percent capacity at stadiums.
“That seems to have gone very well the last two weeks,” Hampton said.
Officials have spent the last three weeks ensuring that students have access to Chromebooks for at-home learning if needed, and have obtained Equity and Digital Learning Act funds to replace old devices.
“Some of our existing Chromebooks have a lot of age on them; some of them date back to about 2013, and they’re limping along,” Hampton said. “We want to go ahead and get out those Chromebooks to our students and put them in their hands, as many as possible. We are still in the process of that, and the next two days (with inclement weather) is going to be a good reason why we wanted to go ahead and get those Chromebooks that we had – as old as they are – in their hands.”
According to the school district’s website, as of Sept. 4 two staff or faculty members had tested positive for COVID-19 in Purvis, along with another two in Oak Grove. One student in Sumrall has tested positive.
Four staff or faculty members at Lumberton were quarantined, along with nine in Purvis, 12 in Oak Grove, four in Sumrall and two at other sites. A total of 106 students had been quarantined, including three in Lumberton, 14 in Purvis, six in Baxterville, 19 in Oak Grove, and 64 in Sumrall.