Resilience Natural Disasters

Mississippi reports coronavirus cases within schools in 71 of 82 counties

getty: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R)

Story at a glance

  • The positive tests prompted 589 teachers and 2,035 students to be placed under quarantine.
  • Health officials announced K-12 teachers and staff members in the state will now have access to free testing regardless of if they have symptoms or know if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
  • The governor has faced criticism for reopening schools too soon amid the coronavirus outbreak and defying calls to delay the school year until Sept. 1.

Health officials in Mississippi on Monday said that 71 of the state’s 82 counties have reported positive cases of the novel coronavirus within schools during their first few weeks back in the classroom. 

At least 245 teachers and 199 students have tested positive for COVID-19 since some districts began returning to the classroom in late July, state health officer Thomas Dobbs said during a news conference Monday. The positive tests prompted 589 teachers and 2,035 students to be placed under quarantine. 


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Last week, 38 of the 82 counties reported positive cases within schools as the state reported 109 infected teachers and 69 students. 

Dobbs noted that while most counties have reported cases within school systems, most students who have tested positive likely caught the virus outside of campus and “brought it with them.” 

The health official also announced that K-12 teachers and staff members in the state will now have access to free testing regardless of if they have symptoms or know if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. Emergency telehealth services will also be offered for students covered under Medicaid.

“This will allow schools, even those without school nurses or school-based clinics, to access telehealth services,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said during the news briefing Monday. “A physician, a nurse practitioner, or physician assistant will be able to provide remote services in schools across the state.” 

The governor has faced criticism for reopening schools too soon amid the coronavirus outbreak and defying calls to delay the school year until Sept. 1, according to the Clarion Ledger. 

The state, however, has been experiencing a decline in the number of new COVID-19 cases. There are currently more than 73,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,100 deaths in the state, according to the Mississippi Department of Health.