Saturday afternoon, Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency to further ramp up Mississippi’s coordinated response across all levels of government and provide health officials and administrators with the necessary tools and guidance to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“Taking proactive measures to limit community spread, I have declared a state of emergency to deploy the necessary resources to protect public health and take care of all Mississippians. We are not taking any chances. This is our latest step to respond to COVID-19, and it will not be our last. We will continue coordinating our response efforts and prioritizing the health and well-being for all who call Mississippi home,” said Governor Tate Reeves.
In response to this declaration all Harrison County and the municipality school districts closed. The Harrison County School District Public Relations Specialist Trang Pham-Bui quickly released the statement after, stating “As part of our response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Harrison County School District will be closed next week – March 16-20, 2020. All campus buildings will be closed to the public, and district events have been cancelled.”
Shortly following, the Long Beach & Pass Christian School District released similar statements. The Long Beach School District statement said, “In an effort to keep all of our students and staff safe as possible amid the Coronavirus Pandemic, the LBSD is cancelling all classes and activities beginning Monday, March 16, 2020. Classes will resume on Monday, March 23, 2020 unless further closure is necessary. Parents should monitor the district’s web page and/or facebook page for updated information.”
The Pass School District announcement expressed that the “Pass Christian Public School District will be closed March 16th-20th. As we learn more, we will keep you updated. Thank you for your support as we work to keep our Pirates healthy and safe.”
Although a different statement was given by St. Stanislaus College Prep, whose statement from Principal Gary L. Blackburn said, “I know that we are bombarding you with information but things change rapidly. As our neighbors in Louisiana are shutting down schools and stopping large gatherings, I know your questions and concerns are increasing. I have been in contact with the diocese, state health department and our local emergency management for most of the day. As of this writing, we are planning to have school next week. However, this is a fluid situation, and as you have no doubt learned, it changes literally by the minute.”
This message was put down 23 hours ago and could be changed any time, which The Gazebo Gazette will update.
Additionally, Church gatherings are also being discouraged for similar reasons as discussed above. But, also keep in mind that churches typically have a population of vulnerable civilians (over 65 years of age). It is recommended that churches use other means of religious assembly other than personal attendance. That duration should be determined based on the COVID threat.
Finally, all athletic events under the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) have been under quite of bit questions about the timeline for their events. The current statement reads: “We are in a unique and uncertain time nationally with the current outbreak of Coronavirus and the response it has triggered at every level from government to spectator sports in our country and nationally. As you may know, in the last 72 hours, the NBA suspended its season after their first case with a player, the NCAA elected to play its championship basketball tournaments without fans, and the SEC will restrict fan attendance at games through the end of March and possibly further. Many colleges and universities are electing to restrict in person classes in an effort to stop the spread of this illness. And the US government will restrict flights from Europe which is experiencing a large and overwhelming outbreak in several countries, for the next 30 days. With this many big changes, it is time for us to start preparing our member schools for measures to help protect our students, coaches, teachers, administrators and parents.”
This statement was put out two days ago and is likely to change very soon. The Gazebo Gazette will follow up when provided.
First, let us be clear what we are dealing with, and why we are taking these steps. The Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19, SARS Cov-2, and the novel coronavirus) is a viral respiratory infection with symptoms and severity that is similar to the flu. There have been many different percentages reported as far as how deadly this infection can be, but the safest approximation is to consider it a flu like illness that spreads more rapidly and is more dangerous to the elderly than children or adolescents. The numbers vary, but we estimate that 10-15% of people becoming infected will have severe symptoms, and roughly 5% will require medical care beyond an outpatient medical office visit.