The 2021-22 school year is underway in Mississippi, and COVID-19 case numbers are rising in classrooms.
New data released by the Mississippi State Department of Health shows that the first week of school for most ended with 991 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students with 347 teachers also testing positive.
An additional 4,435 students and 382 are currently quarantining due to exposure.
The MSDH data is from 342 schools in 43 of the state’s 82 counties.
The return to the classroom in the midst of the Delta-variant-fueled surge of cases has resulted in a widespread debate regarding masking in schools. Following recommendations from the CDC and the MSDH, many districts have opted to mandate masks for all teachers and students while others have kept masks optional. Governor Tate Reeves continues to stress that he will not mandate masks in schools from the state level.