NASD to requires all students to wear masks upcoming school year

Published 3:58 pm Monday, July 19, 2021

NATCHEZ — Natchez Adams School District officials plan for in person learning to resume at its fullest during the 2021-2022 school year with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

NASD Public Relations Director Tony Fields said students at all grade levels will be required to wear masks and in person learning would be back at full force.

“Last year was a tough year, but all in all everyone did a good job of adjusting,” Fields said. “Our teachers did a phenomenal job of learning how to teach virtually on the fly. We’re looking forward to in-person learning and can add distance learning component to it now that students have access to laptops that they will be able to use during the school day.”

Fields said the plans for the upcoming school year, which begins Aug. 2, are still fluid as the district continues to listen to guidance from the Mississippi Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At this time, students will have to have medical documentation to be offered virtual instruction for the upcoming school year, Fields said.

“We’re following directions from MDE and the CDC and we’re prepared to make adjustments if we need to,” he said.

Guidance from the Mississippi State Department of Health, consistent with the CDC, issued Friday says all eligible students ages 12 and older as well as teachers and staff should receive a COVID-19 vaccination and masks should be worn indoors in school settings by all individuals age two and older who are not fully vaccinated.

Schools should also maintain at least three feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk, MSDH states.

Health officials also recommend routine health screening of unvaccinated students, teachers and staff who may be asymptomatic. Schools should also continue to isolate COVID-19 infected students, teachers and staff and continue contact tracing to identify exposed individuals to quarantine away from the school setting.

All students, teachers and staff who have symptoms of any infectious illness, regardless of vaccination status, should stay home from school and be evaluated by their healthcare provider, MSDH states.

Health officials do not recommend fully vaccinated students, teachers and staff quarantine or be excluded from the school setting if they have had COVID-19 exposure or be tested for COVID-19 unless they show symptoms.

MSDH has developed the School Based Testing Initiative for onsite screening testing for unvaccinated students, teachers and staff. MSDH has also developed an Adopt-a-school Vaccination Program, working in partnership with schools and providers, to facilitate onsite COVID-19 vaccinations for all eligible students, teachers and staff.

More information about these programs can be found at msdh.ms.gov.

Fields said the school district has also been at work over the summer helping students who may have fallen behind during last school year.

“We had a very well attended summer session for students who may have gotten behind because of virtual learning. We’re continuing to address learning loss with plans for individual students. … We’ll do a test at the beginning of the year to see where students are and adjust or instruction accordingly,” he said.

With a little more than a week before school starts, Fields said registration for the upcoming school year is open now through Friday. Registration is required for all new and returning students and can be completed at natchez.activeparent.net. For students entering kindergarten, parents should contact their child’s school to request an Active Parent account to begin registration.

Contact your child’s school for help registering or email nasdcares@natchezschools.org for more information.