One Mississippi high school has ordered its entire student body — around 600 students — to quarantine for two weeks due to COVID-19 outbreaks in the area.
The Lamar County School District announced the 14-day quarantine for Sumrall High School students on Wednesday morning. The town of Sumrall’s population only totals around 1,800.
“This week we have dealt with positive COVID cases in the Sumrall community that have been traced to events and activities outside the school setting. At this time, Sumrall High School has reached the (Mississippi State Department of Health) conditions to consider the dismissal of school,” Lamar County Superintendent Steven Hampton said in the announcement, according to the Mississippi Free Press.
Hampton added that all extracurricular activities would be suspended and students would do online learning until classes resume on Oct. 29.
Also on Wednesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health shared its weekly report on COVID-19 cases in schools, which showed that schools recorded more cases during the week of Oct. 5 through Oct. 9 than any other week since in-person learning began in late July and August.
There were 343 new coronavirus cases among students and 185 among teachers during the 7-day period. Last week also saw a record number of quarantined students, teachers and staff — 7,684.
Mississippi has seen a steady rise in cases in recent weeks, according to data from The New York Times. Some have attributed the rise to the fact that Gov. Tate Reeves let the state’s face mask mandate expire on Sept. 30 after initially issuing it on Aug. 4.
When he let it expire, Reeves said he would “trust the majority of the people of Mississippi to do the right thing” and continue wearing masks without “the heavy hand of government.” However, it has led many residents to stop wearing masks in public, the Free Press reports.
In total, Mississippi has had 108,139 coronavirus cases and 3,152 deaths since the onset of the pandemic in March.
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