Socially distanced classroom

The number of new COVID-19 cases and student quarantines was at an all-time high for the second week in a row in DeSoto County Schools.

The district reported 86 total new cases, with 52 students and 34 staff members testing positive for the virus.

Additionally, 508 students were quarantined last week following possible exposure, up from last week’s 491 new student quarantines.

This is the highest number of new cases since the beginning of the semester. For the first nine weeks, the district recorded some of the lowest numbers of cases per capita in the state. 

“We will continue to monitor the number of confirmed cases at each school.  Our numbers are staying fairly consistent with the numbers in the community,” DeSoto County Schools Superintendent Cory Uselton said last week. 

The rise in cases in schools comes as Gov. Tate Reeves reinstated a mask mandate for DeSoto County, along with eight other counties with an increasing transmission rate.

“We’ve seen this before. We know what can happen if we allow this to get out of control, and so we want to be proactive to prevent that from happening,” Reeves said at the press conference last week. “None of these elements are silver bullets. None of them will totally eliminate the virus. We have to allow for life to go on in the meantime. As we wait for a vaccine, our mission is the same as it ever was: to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed. That has to be the focus.”

DeSoto County’s rate of transmission is at a “critical” level according to one model used by health experts, meaning that the county “is either actively experiencing an outbreak or is at extreme risk.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, DeSoto County has reported 7,632 cases and 81 deaths.

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