Pontotoc High School will move instruction online for two weeks due to an increase in COVID-19 cases at the school, Superintendent Dr. Michelle Bivens said on Wednesday.

"In monitoring our numbers, we have seen an increase at Pontotoc High School over the last few days," Bivens said in a recorded statement. "We have 10 new cases as well as more than 70 students who are quarantined due to being in close contact with those cases."

After consulting the district's safety plan and medical advisors, it was determined that a shift from in-person, face-to-face instruction to virtual instruction was necessary "in order to control the numbers" at Pontotoc High.

Students who have reliable Internet connections at home can begin virtual instruction on Thursday, Oct. 29. Students who do not have reliable Internet at home will need to come to school Oct. 29 and 30 to download assignments and get everything they'll need to complete assignments at home.

Virtual instruction will begin for all students on Nov. 2 and continue through Nov. 13. Students will return to campus on Monday, Nov. 16 for face-to-face instruction.

In accordance with the district's plan, students participating in virtual school will still be allowed to continue extracurricular activities. So "extracurricular practices and activities will continue as scheduled," according to Bivens.

"We feel strongly that the safety and health of our students, staff and community are of paramount importance at this time and that our actions have an impact on all of those," Bivens said. "Not only are we concerned for the physical health of our students, but also the emotional health. So we will do everything that we can to support students and families during this transition."

District administrators will remain available to assist with any issues that come up as teachers continue to work on campus to provide virtual instruction to students at home.

"We know that this is different and we know that we will continue to work very hard to provide the quality of instruction you've come to expect from Pontotoc City School District and Pontotoc High School."

blake.alsup@journalinc.com

Twitter: @AlsupTheWriter

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