Note: Recipient-submitted material; content authored by recipient, not ELC
Information current as of October 6, 2021
Management structure for school screening
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is supporting screening testing in Mississippi K-12 schools and school districts to aid in the prevention and control of COVID-19. MSDH has implemented school-based screening in coordination with the school districts in a phased approach, with the initial phase intended to rapidly initiate school-based screening for the school year. MSDH manages Phase 1 by distributing BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests directly to interested MS K-12 schools to test asymptomatic unvaccinated students and teachers weekly and to utilize for testing in a shortened 7-day quarantine period. MSDH has also contracted with a vendor through a request for proposal process to perform Phase 2 school-based screening testing in interested K-12 schools and school districts. In the Phase 2 model, the vendor performs all testing and other support activities to accomplish screening testing on a weekly basis. In both phases, MSDH staff provide technical assistance and support to participating schools and school districts.
Support provided to school districts
Due to the current surge of the Delta variant, most Mississippi counties are currently at high to substantial levels of COVID-19 transmission. MSDH has continued weekly calls with school board associations to provide guidance and support; these meetings are well attended and include school nurses, administrators, superintendents, and school board members from throughout the state. MSDH has continued to provide updated public health guidance for the prevention and control of COVID-19 in K-12 settings, to include recommendations for universal masking in all indoor K-12 settings regardless of vaccination status, physical distancing, contract tracing and appropriate quarantine and isolation guidelines, screening testing guidelines, and recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible individuals in schools. MSDH also has developed a program to provide free masks to students, teachers, and staff at schools and school districts.