HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed its recommendations for COVID-19 guidance for K-12 schools. Now, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is reevaluating those recommendations.
The CDC has removed the recommendation to quarantine, except in high-risk settings. The agency also removed the requirement of ‘Test to Stay’ for students and changed the recommendation to conduct screening testing to focus on high-risk activities during high COVID-19 community levels.
CDC officials said the new guidance provides flexibility, so schools can adapt to their own changing local situations.
Right now, Forrest County is considered a high COVID-19 community level with 339 cases in the last week.
“Our current plan does include that if we do reach what we describe as a high positivity rate for our school district, and that’s looking at several factors; staff positivity rate, student positivity rate, as well as the community levels, we will go to back to restricting large gatherings, fieldtrips, eating in alternative locations,” explained Dr. Robert Williams, superintendent for the Hattiesburg Public School District.
Leaders with the district said they have not experienced any high impact outbreaks within their schools. Due to outbreaks last year, many school districts experienced on again, off again schedule.
One of the biggest changes in the CDCs new recommendations takes away the requirement for children to quarantine.
Within the Hattiesburg Public School District, staff will continue to monitor students in search of displayed illness in addition to students being tested throughout the school year.