Masks required in Tupelo Schools

Students and staff in the Tupelo Public School District must wear masks to start off the new school year.

Posted: Aug 2, 2021 4:22 PM
Updated: Aug 2, 2021 10:44 PM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Students and staff in the Tupelo Public School District will once again put on their masks for the start of the new school year.

The school board made the decision this afternoon after meeting with staff from the North Mississippi Medical Center.

People had mixed opinion's about the board's decision to enforce a mask mandate today.

“Unfortunately, the school board is not tailoring their policy to be one that is for optimization for each child’s individual health and well being," said Melanie Riley.

Riley said she disagrees with the new TPSD mandate. She attended today’s board meeting, but members took no public comments or questions.

Riley shared her concerns with WTVA after the meeting.

“I believe that parents should have a choice, if we’re talking about public health, public health isn't about one issue which is a virus," said Riley. "Public health is also about mental emotional health, respiratory health of all individuals.”

Unlike Riley, Lela Green said she was relieved to hear that her grandchild and classmates will have to wear a mask in the classroom. She said her grandchild is too young to be vaccinated, so she thinks this is the safest way for her to learn.

“My grandchild is only nine, so she can not get vaccinated," said Green. "So this is the only safety measure that we can take at this time... so yeah, I’m all for it.”

When Dr. Malinda Prewitt with the NMMC addressed the board today, she said the Delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading quickly among children, and among adults aged 30 to 50. That's a common age group of teachers and other staff in the district.

The board approved the mask mandate shortly after Prewitt’s presentation.

Superintendent Dr. Rob Picou said the district is already dealing with cases among the band, softball team and some teachers.

“We start getting kids together for the first time in extracurricular activities for the first time and boom we start getting cases," said Picou. "The number of teachers that are already positive leads me to believe that everything I hear, this COVID strand, this variant, could be a lot more... hopefully not, but could be worse than we originally thought.”

Vaccinated or not, students and staff are required to wear a mask. The board is expected to meet again in the next couple of weeks to discuss when the district can drop the mandate.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 784484

Reported Deaths: 13921
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1111691760
Mobile707171225
Madison49549625
Baldwin36108489
Shelby36062314
Tuscaloosa33661547
Montgomery33066676
Lee22407219
Calhoun21041405
Morgan19734334
Etowah19001459
Marshall17619274
Houston16697382
St. Clair15361303
Cullman14506257
Limestone14505187
Elmore14387260
Lauderdale13436280
Talladega12855234
DeKalb12140236
Walker10524329
Blount9649156
Autauga9642137
Jackson9325156
Coffee8793175
Dale8529172
Colbert8482182
Tallapoosa6616177
Escambia6553120
Covington6420165
Chilton6342143
Russell602455
Franklin5758101
Chambers5370133
Marion4769117
Dallas4676187
Pike460096
Clarke459878
Geneva4371116
Winston422994
Lawrence4107108
Bibb407380
Barbour343270
Marengo325683
Monroe317152
Butler316490
Randolph304456
Pickens301873
Henry300357
Hale291584
Cherokee288353
Fayette277973
Washington245148
Crenshaw237069
Cleburne231150
Clay226765
Macon218658
Lamar193342
Conecuh181346
Lowndes170758
Coosa168033
Wilcox159736
Bullock148842
Perry136336
Sumter124336
Greene120642
Choctaw73326
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While some cool mornings are again in store for the weekend, afternoons start to warm up a bit, so plan on dressing in layers if you're heading to the MSU or Bama games, because you'll need to utilize them in different ways.
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