/Private school association says they shouldn’t have to report COVID-19 numbers to the state

Private school association says they shouldn’t have to report COVID-19 numbers to the state

Nonprofit Mississippi News Despite the increasing number of COVID-19-related cases, the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools released a statement stating that member schools shouldn’t have to report their infections to the Mississippi State Department of Health. In a statement, the MAIS, which represents 120 private schools in the state, challenged the state’s reporting requirements. Independent schools are not agents of state schools. The statement states that independent schools are small businesses who happen to be in teaching children’s subjects. “… MAIS question the legitimacy and effectiveness of the state’s reporting obligations.” In August, the health department ordered Mississippi K-12 schools to report COVID-19 data. This includes information about the number and type of students, teachers, and staff that have been infected, as well the number and age of those infected since the start of school. READ MORE: Weekly Update: How many students or teachers have been found to be positive for COVID-19 at your school? The numbers of positive cases in schools are published by the health department every week. However, not all schools publish these figures every week. Private schools often report these figures. MAIS stated that reporting the number of teachers and students who contracted COVID-19 at schools was “hearsay.” It also said that no other Mississippi businesses were required to submit hearsay evidence of “positive cases” to MSDH on an ongoing basis. Independent schools and small businesses do not have access to the positive cases of students who pass through their doors. They can only report what customers tell them. According to the statement, the only reliable source of tracking “positive cases” is the medical community. Some Greenwood parents send their children to Pillow Academy (a private school) because of the MAIS statement. “It seems that they think that if someone has (the coronavirus), then their physician will report that case,” stated a Pillow Academy parent who wishes to remain anonymous because they were concerned that their child might be subject to negative attention due this article. Pillow Academy reported its COVID-19 data to MSDH every week, while other private schools did not. Although other school districts have not reported their COVID-19 numbers for weeks, or have been quiet about it, this is the first instance of a school taking a stand against reporting school COVID-19 data. Thomas Dobbs, the State Health Officer, stated that reporting coronavirus infections to schools is a public health order. According to statutes, it carries a fine and could even constitute a serious crime (to not disclose). We want to work more together and ensure that everyone understands the benefits of this and works with them to overcome these obstacles. READ MORE: Not all Mississippi schools report COVID-19 results as required. A department spokesperson replied via email that the department would not take any actions to enforce this policy for independent schools that do not report. The vast majority of schools report, which allows us to obtain the surveillance that we need.” However, for the Pillow Academy parent the issue of MAIS not reporting to the health department is more than just one thing. The parent stated, “I don’t get the logic.” “Why not set an example and be a concerned citizen to do everything you can to keep your community safe?” ”
Everyone should have the information they need to make the right decision for themselves and their families.”