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School district continues with plans to restart schools Aug. 7

Vicksburg Warren School District trustees reinforced their decision to reopen schools Aug. 7, defeating a proposal by Trustee Alonzo Stevens to have all students use virtual learning for two weeks before opening the schools to in-person classes.

Stevens introduced the proposal near the close of the more than 2 ½- hour meeting. He and Board President Jim Sturgis Jr. cast the only votes for the plan, which would have all district students participating in distance learning from Aug. 7 to 14 with in-person classes beginning Aug. 17.

After his proposal was defeated, Trustee Sally Bullard moved to confirm the Aug. 7 school reopening, which passed 5-0.

Stevens said he was concerned about protecting the children from COVID-19.

 “Warren County is where there’s a hot spot,” Stevens said.

The trustees at a special July 14 meeting approved reopening schools Aug.7 and giving parents and students the option to either attend classes in person or stay home and participate in distance learning.

The decision was based on a survey of parents in the school district that indicated 49 percent of the parents surveyed preferred their children to participate in distance learning.

Forty-four percent indicated they would send their children to school and the students attending school would be brought to school by parents instead of by school bus.

Under the reopening plan, students coming to school will be scanned to determine if they have a fever. Any child with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or more will be sent to a quarantine room, where their temperature will be taken again with an oral thermometer after a 10-minute wait.

If the second reading is below 100.4 degrees the student will be allowed to attend class. If the temperature remains at 100.4 degrees or higher, the parents will be called.

Students attending school who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and will be away from school for a long period of time will participate in distance learning. 

Students will be required to wear masks and engage in social distancing while in the quarantine room.

Superintendent of Schools Chad Shealy said facemasks will be required for bus drivers and students riding the buses. Masks will not be required for students or teachers in the schools “but will be strongly encouraged,” he said.

He said the students will receive five cloth masks — one per day — that can be washed and reused. Teachers and school employees will receive masks and face shields.

Other items in the board’s reopening plan include:

  • There will be no open house events.
  • No visitors will be allowed on school campuses.
  • No school assemblies will be held. 

He said anyone with questions about the reopening plan can go to the school district’s website at www.vwsd.org.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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