Temperature checks will continue at Corinth schools this fall, but students won’t be required to wear a face mask.
The Board of Trustees discussed the Corinth School District reentry plan during a Tuesday night meeting. After much discussion, the board went with a discretionary face-covering policy with an understanding that masks may become required.
“It is a living document and it could change at any time,” said Superintendent Lee Childress. “It is also required that we revisit the policy every six months, and there may be some changes then.”
When classes resume on Monday, students and staff will be subjected to temperature screenings multiple times each day. Childress said the help this measure provides goes beyond Covid-19. “Children just don’t need to be at school with a temperature,” he added.
Looking at recommendations from the CDC, Department of Education and Department of Health, trustees considered requiring face coverings be worn by all unvaccinated staff and students while indoors. Childress said he worried that such a policy might cause staff frustration.
“With no public mask mandate in place like we had last year, I just think its enforcement would be extremely difficult,” he said. “Teachers might end up spending more time trying to enforce wearing a mask and less time teaching.”
The district will however enforce a federal government mask requirement for public transportation. All students and staff regardless of vaccination status will be obliged to wear a face-covering while on a school bus. Masks will be provided. This order expires Sept. 14, and Childress said the board can revisit the policy at that time.
For those who are exposed to the virus, individuals won’t have to quarantine if vaccination proof is provided. Nonvaccinated individuals must agree to Covid-19 testing administrated by school nurses every two days to continue attending school. Testing will end after three consecutive negative tests are produced. Parental release forms will be required for testing.
The district will have virtual school options in place for students who must quarantine.
One change comes for students who opt for a full year of virtual school. Childress said students in grades 6-12 who have a B-average from the previous school year will be allowed to select 100 percent virtual school but will not be allowed to participate in any athletics or extracurricular activities per new guidelines from the Mississippi High School Athletics Association. For pre-k through fifth grade, a full virtual school option will only be available to students who have a medical condition. MHSAA will begin considering these students as homeschooled.
Trustees admitted an outbreak during the school year is possible, but said a return to normal is necessary.
Childress added, “I know things don’t look promising right now, but we are exactly where we were last year at this time. We got through it then, and we will get through it now.”
The district has more student-geared vaccination clinics scheduled. The clinics will happen on July 30 and Aug. 20 at the middle and high school.