Schools address rising COVID numbers

DeSoto County School District officials are taking note of last week’s report on COVID-19 and the rising numbers of new cases that have been flooding the district since the new year began.  

The highly-contagious Omicron variant has reared its head in the state’s largest school district with this past week’s report of 706 new cases of coronavirus among its more than 40 attendance centers. The 706 new cases were up 317 from the previous week. New quarantines last week rose to 551, an increase of 457 from the week before.  

The school district weekly update does not enumerate what new cases are Omicron variants or not, but health officials have said that virtually all of the new cases in Mississippi and the country are now of the Omicron variant.  

Speaking with DeSoto County News Thursday after the latest school board meeting, Supt. Cory Uselton said the rise, while concerning, was not unexpected given trends seen elsewhere. 

“We were anticipating that there would be higher numbers when we returned from the Christmas holidays than what we saw in the fall,” Uselton explained. “That’s exactly what we are seeing.  We’re having higher numbers than when we had the Delta variant.”

In the latest report, every school in the district reported at least one new case of coronavirus. 

“We’re tracking those numbers school by school and we’re also watching the statewide numbers released from the Mississippi State Department of Health,” Uselton said. “We all hope the Omicron variant is similar to the Delta variant in that it came and went very quickly. We’re hopeful the Omicron variant will be similar in that fashion.”

In response to the current numbers of cases, Uselton said schools are going back to practices used when the Delta variant was at its peak.  

“Schools were able to relax some measures in October and December when the cases were lower,” said Uselton. “But they’ve returned to some of those previous measures taken, the social distancing and class changes, lunchroom procedures and that nature. They returned to those measures when we came back from Christmas. We’re keeping a very close eye on it.”  

The complete report is shown below and is also found on the DeSoto County Schools official website.  

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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