Over 100 students quarantined in Mississippi school district

A Corinth County School District school bus is pictured. By Jamiel Lynch, CNN

(CNN) -- Several students in the Corinth School District in Mississippi have been infected with Covid-19 a little over a week after in-person classes resumed.

Taylor Coombs, spokesperson for the Corinth School District, told CNN that six students and one staff member tested positive for the coronavirus. According to Coombs, 116 students that have been considered in "close contact" of a positive case have been sent home to quarantine for 14 days.

The student population in the district is 2700.

The Corinth School District told parents in a letter posted on Facebook Wednesday that an individual from Corinth Middle School tested positive as well as an employee at Corinth Elementary School. The letter said the school has done contact tracing and is asking anyone who had contact with the individuals to quarantine for 14 days.

While in quarantine, children cannot attend school or any activities, the letter said.

In-person classes resumed in the district on July 27, according to the school calendar.

The disclosures came as parents and teachers across the US debate whether to return to the classroom, and whether to wear masks, socially distance, or try and make the 2020-2021 school year look like any other. While most schools are yet to return -- New York is looking at the first week in September -- some have already welcomed students back.

Corinth parents were able to choose for their child to return to the traditional attendance schedule or do virtual learning, and students can only enter or exit the virtual learning model at the end of a nine-week period, according to the district.

Students and staff are screened daily upon entering the building with temperature checks, according to the district's reopening plan, and staff has to answer questions daily about if they have had symptoms in the past few days.

Guidance from the district says that all staff, parents and volunteers must wear a face covering in the school buildings, while teachers must wear a face covering in all common areas and during all student interactions.

Masks are now mandatory in school

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issued a mandatory mask mandate for the state which went into effect Wednesday.

After a summer surge, the state with a relatively low population now has the fifth-highest recorded case count per 100,000 people, behind only Louisiana, Arizona, Florida and New York.

It also has the nation's highest test positivity rate, at a weekly average of 25.8% as of Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

"I believe that there is enough motivation (now) to safely get our kids in school that we can really juice the participation of mask wearing throughout our state for the next two weeks," Gov. Tate Reeves said in announcing the new measures, acknowledging the earlier "piecemeal approach."

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