The DeSoto County School District (DCS) released and sent to parents Friday, July 23 its guidelines to operate schools in the state’s largest public school district for the coming year, and keeping students safe from COVID-19 at the same time. Classes begin at the more than 40 attendance centers in the district on Aug. 5.
Following are some of the highlights of the guidelines that were released Friday afternoon, July 23.
Students will be in class during the time school is in session. However, if students are showing COVID-19 symptoms, they are encouraged to stay home. For that reason, the absence requirement in the DCS exemption policy has been removed for the school year.
Social distancing will be maintained to the greatest extent possible and there will be limited classroom movement. Social distancing will also be promoted in the cafeteria and principals have the ability to alter cafeteria schedules to lower the number of students in the lunchroom if needed.
Mississippi school districts are not under a mask mandate, and no mask usage will be mandated, although the Mississippi State Department of Health did come out to recommend masks in school settings.
Buses will have seating charts to maintain social distance.
Each building has a full-time on-staff school nurse. In addition, teachers and staff will be trained on safety hygiene protocols.
Buildings are having water fountains replaced in favor of water bottle stations and students and staff are asked to bring their own water bottles to school.
In all areas, constant cleaning and sanitizing will be done and supplies will be available to be able to do that.
Parents are asked to check youngster’s health and keep them home if they have any COVID-19-like symptoms, such as high fever, coughing, fatigue, stomach aches or cramps, etc.
DeSoto County Schools is developing a plan for free COVID-19 testing in certain situations, if parents consent to it.
Case and quarantine reports will be updated each week on Monday, as they were in the 2020-21 school year.
The guidelines are subject to change if needed and will be updated periodically during the school year. DCS is also asking parents to provide public comments at the website: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The complete list of guidelines is posted here and is also available in the COVID-19 section of the DeSoto County School District website.