There was much discussion in Itawamba County School Board's (ICSD) regular meeting on Sep. 7 concerning current masking and quarantine policies. In response, the board has made adjustments to their pandemic protocol.

Going forward, students will no longer have to quarantine due to close contact if both students were wearing a mask at the time of exposure.

The original Return to School policy defines close contact as having 15 minutes or more of cumulative contact at a distance of 3 feet or less over a 24-hour period with a person who is positive for COVID-19. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 3 months and recovered do not quarantine or get tested unless they develop symptoms.

Those who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine per the original plan.

Outbreaks will now be defined as 10 percent of the class or 3 students, whichever is greater. Additionally, no over-the-counter COVID-19 tests will be allowed.

The guidelines for quarantining for non-vaccinated students are as follows:

  • 10- day option- Quarantine can end after 10 days if the individual has no symptoms during the 10-day period
  • 7-day option- Quarantine can end after 7 days if the individual has no symptoms for 7 days AND has a negative test with any form of molecular based testing (send off test) for the detection of COVID-19 RNA collected on day 5, 6 or 7 of the quarantine period. Molecular based tests do not include antigen tests or antibody rapid tests.
  • 2- day option- Unvaccinated students who are exposed to COVID-19 will not be excluded from school for quarantine of they receive any type of COVID-19 testing every two days and remain asymptomatic. At the end of the 7 days, they will no longer require testing.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 will be excluded from the school setting for a full 10 days from the onset of symptoms and until they are fever free for 24 hours.

Those who test positive for COVID-10 and are asymptomatic will be excluded from the school setting for a full 10 days from the date of the test as long as they remain asymptomatic. If symptoms develop, they will be excluded for a full 10 days from the onset of symptoms and until they are fever free for 24 hours.

The board says the still support allowing parents to decide whether or not their student wears a mask or is vaccinated.

For the week of Aug. 30 through Sep. 3, ICSD reported 454 students in quarantine due to exposure and over 270 students who tested positive for COVID-19. Itawamba Attendance Center accounted for 211 of those quarantined and 107 of the COVID-19 positive students. Additionally, the district reported 16 teachers who were in quarantine due to exposure and over 47 teachers who tested positive for the virus.

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