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Marion County, Columbia school districts discuss back-to-school COVID plans

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 10:18 PM CDT
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MARION COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - As the first day of school approaches, school districts across the Pine Belt are preparing to bring students back during a pandemic.

Newly appointed Marion County School District Superintendent Michael Day addresses how the district is planning to help students this year following the impacts of COVID-19.

“We’re putting lots of programs and pieces in play to address the learning loss with our children,” said Day.

Masks will be optional for the students this year.

Leaders have a plan in place but are ready to make tweaks if needed.

“We have to ‘Return to Learn’ plan,” Day said. “We’re watching closely what the [state] department of health and CDC puts out. We have the new guidelines, but we will make that decision on the 30th.”

Marion County will balance health and safety with fun, hoping to give students a creative outlet.

“We are adding a lot of performing arts programs: Choir, theater, gospel choir, show choir, art...,” said Day.

Day says providing these programs will allow students to interact with classmates and bring a sense of normalcy.

A stone’s throw away, Columbia School District is also ready to be back in the classroom.

Masks on campus will be optional for the students as they return to school.

Columbia School District Superintendent Dr. Jason Harris explains their COVID plan.

“We do have what we feel is a great set of guidelines that will allow us to, you know, to reflect and look and then use certain metrics that will allow us to make certain changes if needed,” said Harris.

Harris says the district is continuing to monitor COVID-19 and the Delta variant and wants to let parents know they do have a plan and will stick to it.

“Right now, we have a low rate here in Marion County of spread. So, you know, as we do that, I just want parents to know that we have a plan as we did last year,” Harris said. “We are going to stick to our plan. We’ll make sure we provide the safest, secure learning environment for our students.”

Both Marion County and Columbia school districts will provide PPEs and will sanitize to keep the rate of spread down.

Columbia School District starts back on Wednesday, July 28, and Marion County School District returns on Aug. 5.

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