Mere weeks into the 2020-21 school year, it appears to us that decision-makers within the East and West Tallahatchie school districts made the best decision when they opted to adopt all-virtual learning at the start of the fall semester.
The DeSoto County School District, the largest in the state with over 30,000 students, reportedly gave parents the option of how to proceed with their schooling. Some 13,000 students opted to start the school year by attending classes virtually.
The DeSoto Times-Tribune, which cited the aforementioned numbers, reported Monday that 34 individuals within that district have tested positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks of school. Those infected have included 23 students and 11 faculty members.
Some would say 23 students among 17,000 isn’t so bad. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the number of people impacted.
Because of contract tracing — following potential exposure to an infected person — 266 students in DeSoto County Schools have been quarantined.
There have been numerous other well-publicized cases of outbreaks in schools that chose to begin the year in the traditional in-school setting.
This was no slam-dunk decision either way, but it appeared to us that putting students and teachers in the classroom right now was not prudent.
For the most part, children who are infected with COVID-19 seem to be impacted much less than others physically. That said, what about the teachers and other school staff, as well as the parents, grandparents and others who could be subject to more serious repercussions if they get the virus?
Furthermore, removing health concerns from the equation, the potential hassle and disruption to studies that would result from a COVID-19 outbreak in school — as students, parents and administrators in DeSoto County and other districts have faced — would seem to tilt the needle in favor of distance learning, at least for now.