Oxford School District Superintendent Bradley Roberson announced that a mask mandate is in place for all students and staff in all indoor settings starting Monday, August 2, through Friday, August 20.
As school starts back in Oxford this week, other schools that have begun have all ready gone to virtual learning in Lamar County at Oak Grove and at Purvis High School. Band camps across the state have already had to shut down due to an outbreak.
Below is the full letter to Charger Nation on the mask requirement.
Thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate through such a turbulent time in our schools, community, state, and country. Leaders of every capacity in all types of organizations are faced with making incredibly difficult decisions that balance public safety and the mission of their particular organization. I feel fortunate to live in a community where leaders are willing to work through problems such as this together.
I have been in constant contact with leaders from Lafayette County Schools, the City of Oxford, The University of Mississippi, and Baptist Hospital in an effort to ensure that we in the Oxford School District are doing our part to support the health and safety of our community while providing a quality education to our children.
As education leaders, we have all seen the negative impact last school year has had on student learning which is why an overwhelming majority of districts across our state have been determined to open schools with as much normal school operation as possible. Unfortunately, in recent days we have learned from some of our district friends from around the state who have already started school that a normal return may not provide us with the best opportunity to keep kids in school.
Our friends in Lamar County have been forced to transition Oak Grove High School as well as Purvis High School to virtual learning due to school outbreaks after less than 10 days of instruction. Bands from across the state have already been shut down due to outbreaks from band camps. I learned this morning that we have a group in the Oxford School District on the verge of a shutdown due to already having two positive cases.
While no one wants a return to normal more than I do, it would be foolish not to take note of the misfortunes that have already happened to other schools around the state. We need our kids in school.
As a result, I am exercising my authority provided by the board and REQUIRING masks for all students and staff beginning Monday, August 2 through Friday, August 20. This mask requirement only applies to indoor school settings. Outside recess and outdoor extracurricular activities will remain mask optional. I hope this will only be for a short period; however, at this time, it provides us the opportunity to keep our kids in school, provide them will the best possible education, and also eliminate the need for quarantines in the classroom setting. According to the Department of Health guidelines and our Return to Learn plan, unvaccinated individuals within 3-6 feet of an infected person do not have to quarantine if both individuals were wearing masks.
I will continue to evaluate the situation daily and communicate with Charger families as things progress. Please remember we must all remain flexible through this ever-changing situation and we are better together.
Superintendent, Oxford School District
Courtesy of the Oxford School District