12 News Investigates: COVID-19 in Mississippi Achievement School District

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Schools are making adjustments to an ever-changing COVID-19 situation. One death is one too many, but this one hits a little closer to home for a Mississippi Achievement School employee.

“It had took one of my co-workers lives,” said an employee, who does not want to be identified out of fear of retaliation and losing their job.

12 News reached out to the COVID-19 patient’s family. They did confirm Sandy Anderson died of COVID-19.

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus is something that worries some employees that show up for work.

“The coronavirus is deadly. It’s dangerous and anybody and someone may have a medical condition and that virus ain’t no good for them.”

The Mississippi Achievement District said it’s doing all it can to keep people safe including masks, social distancing and testing. In Mid-October, the superintendent said they shut down Ida Green Lower Elementary School temporarily in Humphreys County.

“We had three or more cases in a 14-day period, so we brought the mobile unit out there to test all of our employees,” said Superintendent Jermall Wright.

Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) numbers showed 64 Ida Greene teachers and staff members were quarantined, along with 150 students. Even with protocols in place, a terrified school district employee still wonders if she might be next to get the virus.

“By the virus spreading, it’s just no good,” she said.

In Humphreys County, the test positivity rate doubled to 16 percent in a week’s time. In Yazoo County, the week ending October 17 was at 4.9 percent, just under the recommended five percent threshold.

The Mississippi Achievement School District serves both of those counties. Leaders used this data, in part, to figure out how it would move forward the rest of its semester. While many want more face to face instruction, the school district is not ready to move to phase II.

The week after Thanksgiving will be virtual due to an increase risk of spreading COVID-19.

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