Mississippi schools have a plan if an outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new Coronavirus, appears in the state. MPB's Kobee Vance reports their goal is preventing the spread of the disease.
The Mississippi Department of Education has released guidance for school districts about COVID-19. Scott Clements is the Director of the Office of Healthy Schools. He says the plan focuses on hygiene, cleaning and preventing the spread of disease.
"We want to make sure that everybody understands the importance of that and is very diligent at this point. Because, really prevention is where we stand right now. There are no cases in Mississippi as of today. We are planning in case there are, and prevention is our first line of defense there."
Clements also says the Department of Education is providing teachers with resources to teach about the spread of the disease.
"We have a number of lesson plans that have grade ranges in there, on our health and action website. We provided teachers with links to those so they can incorporate those during the course of the day and have more resources for teaching their kids."
If students are sick, they are asked to stay home to prevent the spread of disease, but-- civil liberty advocates are concerned about how they will be cared for.
Madeline Morcelle is with the Mississippi Center for Justice. She says low wage parents who stay home with their sick child could face financial hurdles.
"you are staying at home because your child is sick and you are trying to avoid transmission. It could, for people that are in hourly jobs and don't have protections at work, it could certainly threaten job loss."
The Department of Education oversees 151 school districts, teaching nearly half a million students. They are working with multiple state agencies to monitor the spread of COVID-19.