Tupelo Schools dealing with COVID-19 outbreak with new year set to start next week

·2 min read

Jul. 30—The Tupelo Public School District has postponed all of its Open House events set for early next week after a COVID-19 outbreak among students in the Tupelo High School Band.

"Given recent outbreaks among our student population, it is with an abundance of caution for the safety of our students and staff that TPSD will postpone all Open House events until after school starts and we can monitor the trend of community infection rates," TPSD said in an alert sent to parents.

Open House was scheduled for Milam Elementary and Tupelo Middle School on August 2 from 1 to 6 p.m. and for the rest of the district's elementary schools on August 3 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Tupelo High School also canceled its freshman orientation that was scheduled for Monday, Aug. 2. Students were to receive their Chromebooks during this time. That will now happen on the first day of school.

A statement posted on the high school band's website and sent to members informed students of the active COVID-19 cases and told them Friday's rehearsal, part of an annual summer band camp, would be canceled.

"School nurses and administrators have determined that there is an active COVID outbreak within the band membership," the statement reads.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, an outbreak in a school setting is defined as three or more individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 in the same group within a 14-day period.

Band members will receive a call from the school district and/or school nurses with specific instructions as to whether or not students will be required to quarantine, according to the statement.

Students who are not required to quarantine will be required to attend all band rehearsals.

A band performance is scheduled for Monday evening, Aug. 2, with a rehearsal set for Tuesday.

According to the statement, a band rehearsal plan for next week will be posted on or before Monday, where the status of that evening's performance will be announced as well.

TPSD Director of Marketing and Communications Gregg Ellis said the exact number of students who tested positive and the number that will be quarantined are not yet known.

He said the district will have to find out which students are vaccinated and which aren't before quarantines are determined. The band currently has approximately 175 members.

This article will be updated when more information is available.

blake.alsup@djournal.com

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