DeSoto County Schools will not change policies on sporting events in response to the state department of health’s new recommendation that Mississippians not attend sporting events or other social gatherings.
“School officials are following Governor Tate Reeves' Executive Order 1525 which gives guidance to schools for sporting events,” Cory Uselton, the superintendent of the district, said in an email today. “In addition, district officials will continue to monitor communication from the Mississippi State Department of Health and the Mississippi High School Activities Association.”
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs sent a state health care network alert with the new guidance on Wednesday. In it, he urged Mississippians to stay home as much as possible and avoid any nonessential gatherings, including sporting events, parties, church services, weddings, funerals and family gatherings outside of the nuclear family.
This announcement came after 13 more counties were added to Gov. Tate Reeves’ mask mandate on Tuesday. It also comes at a time when DeSoto County and surrounding areas are experiencing ICU bed shortages and a record-breaking virus spread.
Reeves’ Executive Order 1525 — which is still in effect for DeSoto County Schools events — does include several restrictions for K-12 indoor events, including athletic events.
These restrictions, which were first enacted on Sept. 30, include:
- At most, the area can have 25% of its normal capacity, excluding players, coaches, trainers, medical staff and other required personnel.
- There must be six feet of separation between people not in the same household.
- Face coverings must be worn while moving through the facility and are strongly encouraged while seated.
- A dedicated safety officer must be present to ensure these restrictions are being followed and must have a staff to help enforce the order, as needed.
DeSoto County Schools have often outperformed other large districts in the state, despite the intensity of the viral spread in the community surrounding the district.
Still, DCS has reported thousands of quarantines and hundreds of cases throughout the system, which serves about 36,000 students.