Greenwood High School students will be allowed to return to campus Friday for in-person learning, cutting short a closure that was scheduled to last until Sept. 27.
The Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School Board voted 3-2 Thursday during a special called meeting to reopen the school.
The reopening also means the football game between GHS and Amanda Elzy High will go on Friday as planned, said Dr. Mary Brown, the superintendent.
Board members Samantha Milton, Dr. Kalanya Moore and Magdalene Abraham voted to reopen the school; Dr. Ro’Shaun Bailey and Jackie Cooper-Lewis voted against it.
After six students and one staff member at the high school reported Monday that they tested positive for COVID-19, the school’s campus was closed Tuesday. Students were to take virtual classes until being allowed to return to the campus Sept. 27.
Brown said Thursday that typically school campuses have been closed following COVID-19 outbreaks because of the limited number of staff that would be available to teach since many have to quarantine.
Regarding Greenwood High’s closure earlier this week, Brown said that Barren Cleark, the principal, had begun to conduct contact tracing after he was first notified of positive cases. As a precaution, the high school was closed, Brown said.
However, Brown said, now that contact tracing for the high school has been completed, students and staff members there who have not come into direct contact with positive infected people may return to the campus. Only those who tested positive or had direct contact with a positive individual must still quarantine.
Bailey, who has repeatedly voiced concern this week about whether the different schools are being treated consistently, called the timing of the motion suspicious.
“You do recognize the perception this sends, oddly enough, that we’re requesting on a Thursday evening to allow students to return to school considering the rivalry game that has been scheduled for tomorrow,” he said of the GHS-Elzy football game.
Brown acknowledged that perception and said that she had intended to recommend to the board on Wednesday a motion to reopen Greenwood High, though other matters came up that pushed back to Thursday the motion for the board to consider.
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