TUPELO • Tupelo Public School District has extended spring break for one week due to concerns about COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), the Board of Trustees announced during an emergency meeting on Friday morning.

As of right now, school is set to resume on March 23. The district will re-evaluate the situation throughout next week, TPSD superintendent Dr. Rob Picou said.

“The district makes this decision with extreme reluctance because we are aware of the many difficult unintended consequences that result from closing school,” Picou said.

Mayor Jason Shelton had requested on Thursday that TPSD administrators close schools through next Tuesday.

Sherry Davis, president of the TPSD Board of Trustees, said local medical experts in Tupelo had recommended closing schools for one week out of an abundance of caution to keep everyone in the community safe.

“MSDH has recommended not closing schools, however not to congregate in groups of people larger than 250,” Davis said. “TPSD obviously has schools that are much larger than 250. We also have many students and staff who have traveled both in and out of the country over spring break.”

School-related out-of-state travel for district employees has been suspended through March 31.

“The One Single Heartbeat philosophy represents those moments when good people of honest intent come together to do whatever is necessary to achieve uncommon results,” Picou said. “At this moment in time our uncommon result is to keep everyone in Tupelo safe.”

On Tuesday,March 17, Shelton and other City Hall officials will meet with leaders from North Mississippi Medical Center, CDF and Toyota to discuss how the Tupelo area can take preventative measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. Picou said he will also be present at that meeting.

“The main concern right now is to keep the virus from spreading so quickly and supporting a collective effort to prepare and respond to COVID-19,” the City of Tupelo’s communications director Lucia Randle said regarding the meeting. “It is a fluid situation and has a lot of working parts.”

Taylor Vance contributed to this story.

blake.alsup@journalinc.com

Twitter: @AlsupTheWriter

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