Columbus Municipal Schools are keeping safety protocols in place

Many schools are back or heading back in session after winter break

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Many schools are back or heading back in session after winter break. Some districts have been flexible with their COVID-19 precautions, while others haven’t changed theirs since the initial guidelines.

Dr. Cherie Labat, superintendent at Columbus Municipal School District,  said that her school district from top to bottom are keeping COVID-19 safety measures in place to try and keep positive case numbers down.

“We’ve stayed the course with the mask mandate we added testing as we started this year from the hybrid schedule and we continue to use safety precautions,” said Labat.

Columbus is one of the districts that has kept their mask mandate in place since 2020. Dr. Cherie Labat said the Mississippi Department of Health also partnered with schools to offer free testing to students and staff. If a student or faculty member does test positive for COVID-19 then the district calls in Mavreck Health to test everyone exposed to that person.

“At this point I’m seeing a lot of sore throat and runny nose kind of like the cold symptoms but majority so far has been COVID,” said Columbus Middle School Sonya Anderson

Anderson said that positive tests are inevitable, but the school district is doing its part to stop the spread. If cases do surge for a certain class then teachers and students quarantine for their allotted time, but that doesn’t mean that the learning stops.

“We’re really grateful to our legislators and state for helping us accommodate our students with laptops because it has helped us facilitate in learning if we have a substitute or have to mitigate circumstances within the building,” said Labat.

Labat said she plans to keep the COVID protocol in place until the virus is gone. Wearing masks, sanitizing, and social distancing are three of the keys to safety. Those rules aren’t just for the kids; it’s a team effort.

“It’s important as we work towards normalcy that our community understands that what we do in the community as far as vaccinations and making a priority to try and get rid of the disease it’s important not only for the school district but for our community and our children,” said Labat.

Labat said that she doesn’t plan to go back to virtual learning because students tend to be more attentive during in-person classes. She also encourages vaccines for those who haven’t gotten them and for families to practice the same guidelines that kids practice at school.

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