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The Oxford School District, Simpson County School District and Vicksburg and Warren school districts extended the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday by closing Friday.
"With so many employees out, it is difficult to provide the quality of instruction to which our students are accustomed," a message on Oxford School District's website said.
COVID-19 and schools: Nearly 4,000 Mississippi students out of schools with COVID-19 infections
Heather Lenard, public information officer for the school district, said 120 staff members were out sick due to COVID-19 the week of Jan. 10, including at least 50 who are classroom teachers.
Many were able to return Tuesday, she said, but 76 staff members are still on sick leave.
"Our numbers of staff absences are trending the right direction," Lenard wrote in an email. "By Friday of this week, we are projected to only have 39 staff members expected to be absent. Locally, our Covid infection rates are also beginning to show some downward trend."
Simpson County schools temporarily closed Friday and students are expected to return in waves starting next week, said Superintendent Toriano Holloway
Simpson Central School was shuttered because many teachers and substitutes were absent due to COVID-19, he said, but the school reopened Tuesday.
Holloway said the district's seven other schools closed because they were following guidance from the Mississippi Department of Public Health.
State health officrecommends quarantine and exclusion from school for all unvaccinated persons exposed in a COVID-19 outbreak. An outbreak is defined as having three or more cases in a classroom or group of 30 or less, or 10% or more of a large group within a 14-day period.
The Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees voted Jan. 13 to close schools and offices for a five-day, district-wide quarantine from Jan. 14 through Tuesday.
Since Jan. 3, the district has had 164 positive COVID-19 cases and 374 quarantines, according to information presented at the board's meeting.
Schools and offices are expected to reopen Wednesday.
The Vicksburg Warren school board also voted to extend the district's mask mandate through Feb. 15 on all of its campuses.
Reporter Mina Corpuz can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter @mlcorpuz.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Several Mississippi school districts closed due to COVID-19 cases