100 students sent home from Mississippi high school after teacher shows COVID-19 symptoms

Roughly 100 students were sent home from a southern Mississippi high school on Tuesday after coming into contact with a teacher who was exhibiting mild COVID-19 symptoms.

The Gulfport School District said that the teacher had not yet tested positive for the coronavirus but students were sent home “out of an abundance of caution to keep everyone safe.”

The students will receive virtual instruction during a 14-day quarantine while they await the teacher’s test results. If the educator tests negative, students will be allowed to return to school.

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Students were socially distanced and everyone, including the teacher, wore masks inside the classroom. The only time students did not have their faces covered was during lunch.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised reopening schools to avoid the negative consequences for students of the loss of in-person instruction. But it also recommends students and staff wear masks and keep a distance of at least 6 feet.

Schools across the country are struggling to reopen safely during the pandemic, which has infected 68,293 people and killed 1,944 in Mississippi as of Monday night. 

The state is reporting the second-highest positivity rating in the nation, and Gov. Tate Reeves (R) last week issued a two-week mask mandate in businesses and all public places.

Another Mississippi high school last week had to quarantine more than 100 people after six students and one staff member tested positive for coronavirus just weeks after in-person classes resumed.

In Georgia, more than 820 students and 40 teachers were required to quarantine at one school district that doesn’t require face coverings.