Booneville schools have seen a significant drop in COVID cases as the school year continues.

Superintendent Dr. Todd English recently updated the district’s board on case numbers and said they’ve been in single digits for the past several weeks.

Masks are now optional for students and staff in the district, though English noted the board has given him the option to require masks in small, specific groups on a short term basis if case numbers show a need.

He said the district has had a good year so far in relation to the virus and has been able to keep as many students as possible in the classroom.

“We’ve been able to have school this year more than we ever imagined,” he said.

The district is looking closely at recently released state testing numbers from the end of the previous school year. English said scores in English Language Arts were 7-9 percent lower than the district’s normal performance while math scores were around 15 percent lower.

This is in line with the national trend as many students struggled over the past year and a half with virtual learning and other changes to the normal school day. English said they feel very confident those scores will rise as they’ve made a concentrated effort since the start of the new school year to assist students who have gotten behind and catch them up to where they need to be.

The district is currently in the process of preparing to apply for the state’ next round of the District of Innovation program in partnership with the Baldwyn School District. English said they are preparing a proposal to use cutting edge virtual reality programs in the classroom to give students unique virtual hands on experiences in a variety of areas.

“We’re going to push the envelope of education like we always have,” he said.

The board voted to hire Vance Wigginton as a part-time assistant band director. English said Wigginton, a former band director at Booneville and Tupelo, will assist band directors Josh and Jada Forsythe who currently have more than 200 students under their direction with both the high school and junior band programs.

Banner Independent Editor

Managing editor of the Daily Corinthian’s sister newspaper, Booneville’s Banner-Independent, Brant Sappington has been a member of the Daily Corinthian family since 2001.

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