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DeSoto County Schools returns to school, masks optional for students

Mississippi's largest school district returns to the classroom Thursday morning

DESOTO COUNTY, Miss — Mississippi's largest school district is back in session as DeSoto County Schools returns to the classrooms Thursday morning.

When the district returns, masks will be optional for students.

"We believe it is a parental decision," Superintendent Cory Uselton said. "The Mississippi Department of Health recommended that students wear masks, that students get vaccinated, and there are strong opinions from both sides of parents and we feel parents should have that choice on what to decide for their child.”

Uselton said, he too, recommends students wear a mask but said the district won't go as far as to require it. He said the district will try to maintain social distancing as much as possible.

With the rise of Delta variant hospitalizations, Uselton said at this time they have no plans to change their plans.

Instead, he said they will look at cases daily and a school-by-school basis. If there's a breakout in cases at a school, it could lead to masks being enforced or virtual learning.

"We just watch everything on a daily basis," he said. "We have no plans to change any part of the plan right now. But we do watch bases on a daily basis and if any changes need to be made then we’ll do that."

Students with a medical condition or a family member with one will have a home-bound school option. The district is not be offering a virtual learning option for all students this year. 

Uselton said students returning to the classroom will be an exciting day for teachers.

“Not only are they getting to see students but they’re also getting to meet students that they taught virtually last year that they never actually saw in person," he said.