At least 116 people in Corinth, a city in Mississippi, have been told to quarantine for two weeks, after six students and one staff member tested positive for Covid-19 over the past week.
Taylor Coombs, spokeswoman for the Corinth School District, told NBC News that any person who was considered to have been in close contact with the people who tested positive for Covid-19, have been instructed to self-isolate.
Five of the students who tested positive attend high school, one goes to a local middle school, and the other person is a teacher at an elementary school in the city.
The Corinth School District reopened facilities on 27 July, after a period of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, and parents were given the option to send their kids back or take virtual classes, with 85 per cent of them opting for in-person learning.
The students affected by the quarantine will now join the 15 per cent of children being taught virtually in the school district, until they can go back to class.
In an interview with Fox13 on Thursday, Corinth School District superintendent Lee Childress said that no major changes are planned, despite the outbreak of cases.
“It’s been interesting to watch unfold but it’s not something that was unexpected. We knew we would have positive cases. I don’t think it matters if you open schools in July, August, September, or October.
“It’s something everyone is going to experience. The key is, we had the procedures in-place to do the screening at the schools need to take place prior to children coming.”
In a later statement he added: “We believe that most of these earlier cases are the result of community transmission, which further highlights the need for all community members to adopt and practice recommended safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Schools will only be as safe as the community in which they operate.”
Mississippi has seen a rise in coronavirus cases over the last month, and currently has the fifth highest number of Covid-19 cases per capita in the US.
The state currently has 63,444 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 1,804 deaths since the pandemic began, with its number of fatalities rising from an average of 10 a day in June to 30 in August, according to CNN.
In response to the rise in deaths in the state, governor Tate Reeves announced on Tuesday that face masks will be mandated in public and in schools for the next two weeks.
“I (had) taken a piecemeal approach because I believe firmly that this was the best way to get the most number of people to participate,” Mr Reeves told reporters.
However, he added: “I believe that there is enough motivation to safely get our kids in school that we can really juice the participation of mask wearing throughout our state for the next two weeks.”