Oxford School District extends mask mandate two weeks

Published 11:32 am Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Masks will continue to be required in all Oxford School District buildings for at least a couple more weeks.

The OSD Board of Trustees called a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss the district’s mask mandate, which was scheduled to expire on Wednesday. Oxford school superintendent Bradley Roberson informed the Board that he was extending the mandate through Sept. 27, which is when their next regular board meeting is scheduled for.

The extension falls in line with Governor Tate Reeves extending Mississippi’s State of Emergency last Friday for 30 more days.

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“We can address (the mandate) again then like we’ve done with the other short cycles of the mask mandate since we’ve started this,” Roberson said.

Roberson’s decision to extend OSD’s mandate comes on the heels of Oxford’s Board of Aldermen extending the city-wide mask mandate last Tuesday for two more weeks, which will be revisited during the Board’s Sept. 21 meeting.

The University of Mississippi is still under a mask mandate on its campus as well.

For the week of Sept. 6-12, OSD reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 throughout the district. Central Elementary School and Oxford Intermediate School reported the most cases with four each. The district reported 81 total quarantines among students due to contact tracing on and off-campus. No faculty or staff were quarantined last week.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health’s website, Lafayette County School District quarantined 421 students.

“We’re still doing a great job of keeping kids in school,” Roberson said. “I will continue to monitor our local numbers as well as continue to talk to our city officials and also officials at the University of Mississippi.”

The Board also voted to revise the Return to Learn Plan. The change due to the new definition of an outbreak by the Department of Health. The new definition of an outbreak is now 10 percent of a large group instead of three cases, which were affecting athletic teams, band and other large groups. The definition of an outbreak is still three positive cases for groups of 30 or less, including classrooms.

Lafayette County’s current seven day average is 27.43 cases per day, which is down from the previous average of 40.71 cases two weeks ago.