By Ray King

Students at Coleman Elementary School in the Watson Chapel School District are currently attending class virtually because of a high number of staff and students affected by COVID-19.

Watson Chapel District Superintendent Jerry Guess appeared on the Oldies 101.3 morning show Friday and talked about why the change from in-person learning to virtual.

Guess said the district currently has seven students and three staff members who have active cases of COVID-19, and 15 staff and 122 students who are currently quarantined. Over half of the quarantined students and most of the quarantined staff members are from Coleman Elementary.

He said 974 students are receiving instruction virtually out of a total enrollment of 2,160, or about 40 to 45 percent. In both the Pine Bluff and Dollarway School Districts, the number of students signed up for virtual education is about 80 percent and it is less than 20 percent in the White Hall School District.

Guess said students and staff are required to wear masks, there are sanitizing stations in the buildings and water bottles have been issued so that students don’t have to drink out of common water fountains.

He also talked about other steps that have been taken to protect students and staff.