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Concerns rise over COVID-19 cases in Jones County School District

With COVID-19 cases still rising across Mississippi, some parents and guardians are concerned with their children attending in-person classes.
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 8:10 PM CST
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JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - With COVID-19 cases still rising across Mississippi, some parents and guardians are concerned with their children attending in-person classes.

Several Jones County schools are under a temporary mask mandate due to the rise in positive COVID-19 cases.

“During 2021, we had our highest numbers (with) 210 positive cases in any one given week,” Tommy Parker, Jones Co. Schools superintendent, said. “And, last week we were up to 399.”

West Jones High School is currently one of the schools under a mask mandate.

Eva Waller is the grandparent of two West Jones students. She says she’s concerned about the spread of the virus.

“We’re older grandparents raising our grandchildren,” Waller said. “We have underlying health conditions. If they bring this home to us... it could be bad.”

Waller says she thinks virtual learning would be a good option to help schools bring down case numbers.

“Go virtual for a couple of weeks then shut it down and reevaluate after those two weeks just like the country did last year,” Waller said.

According to Parker, virtual learning is near the end of the line in terms of potential solutions.

“Virtual is an option, but in my opinion, it would be one of the last options just before we had to close school,” Parker said.

Parker says this is due to a few reasons, one being learning loss from previous school years during the pandemic.

He also says a lack of internet access in Jones County is a big problem with virtual learning.

“We still have areas of our county that do not have good reliable internet access that would make virtual learning for all of our students a hit and miss proposition,” Parker said.

As for the students that do test positive for COVID-19, Parker says the district enforces protocols for quarantining and has plans to help students catch up when they return.

“When they get back, we’re going to assist them in helping them make their workup,” Parker said.

He says although cases are rising in Jones County Schools, the district is following COVID cleaning protocols.

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