By Alyssa Schnugg
Oxford School District Superintendent Bradley Roberson informed the Board of Trustees Friday that as of Monday, students and teachers will no longer be required to wear a mask while at school.
“We’re in a much, much better situation than we were a few weeks ago,” Roberson told the Board members during a special called meeting Friday morning.
He said masks will still be recommended but not required and parents who want their students to wear a mask in the classroom should contact their child’s teacher.
He said the decision was based on the decrease of COVID-19 cases in the community and in the school district as well as the current conditions at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi.
“The hospital is no longer operating under a state of emergency,” Roberson said.
Roberson said the district needs to consider the low risk of the virus transmission the district is seeing currently versus the high risk of learning loss.
“While our focus shifts toward the direction of student learning, that doesn’t mean we ignore the effects COVID-19 has on our students,” he said. “We must remain caution and monitor cases.”
Roberson pointed out that 56 percent of Lafayette County is fully vaccinated and that there were only five positive cases within the school district this week.
Board member Ray Hill said he disagreed with the decision to remove the mask mandate and said he’s concerned it will lead to an increase of positive cases which will keep more students out of school.
“We know masks work and slow the spread of the virus,” Hill said. “I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet. I’m worried we’re moving too fast.”
The board voted to approve a change in the district Return to Learn Plan that allows students identified to have been in close contact with a positive case be exempt from quarantine with proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
All other COVID-19 protocols for the district will remain in place.