More than 100 Mississippi students quarantined after classmates tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after school reopened
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Six students and a staff member in a Mississippi school district have tested positive for COVID-19 just weeks after in-person classes resumed, resulting in the quarantine of more than 100 others who had close contact with them.

The Corinth School District confirmed Wednesday that a middle school student and an employee at an elementary school have both tested positive for COVID-19. The school district said contact tracing — which involves contacting any person who had been within six feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes — has been completed for both individuals.

The district said that children who were notified will need to quarantine at home for 14 days from the “last known contact” with an infected person. 

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The district has also confirmed five cases of COVID-19 at Corinth High School.

Taylor Coombs, a spokesperson for the Corinth School District, confirmed to CNN that 116 students who were considered in “close contact” have been sent home to quarantine.

The district has approximately 2,700 students.

Superintendent Lee Childress said in a statement to The Hill that "our teachers and students are teaching and learning while practicing many enhanced safety measures to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus." 
 
"We believe that most of these earlier cases are the result of community transmission, which further highlights the need for all community members to adopt and practice recommended safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus because schools will only be as safe as the community in which they operate," Childress said.

In-person classes resumed in the district on July 27. Parents had the option to choose between sending their child to school virtually or in-person, according to CNN. Students and staff who do attend school in person are given a daily temperature check, and staff have to answer questions about whether or not they have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms in recent days.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) issued a mask mandate this week requiring masks or face coverings to be worn in businesses and other public spaces for the next two weeks as the state tries to reduce its rate of new coronavirus infections.

Reeves said Tuesday that the beginning of the school year would be delayed for students in grades seven through 12 in eight counties across the state that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

Mississippi has reported at least 63,444 COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday night and at least 1,804 deaths.

Updated at 10:22 p.m.