Dr. Patrick Eakes of Philadelphia talks with administrators in the Neshoba County School District as they finalize plans for the opening of schools for the 2020-21 year. Clockwise, starting at bottom left, are Lashon Horne, high school assistant principal; Dana McLain, high school assistant principal; Cody Killen, middle school principal; Jessie Smith, middle school assistant principal; Kim Baysinger, elementary school assistant principal; Dr. Lundy Brantley, superintendent; Jason Gentry, high school principal; Dr. Penny Hill, assistant superintendent; Dr. Eakes; Brent Pouncey, high school assistant principal; and Jimmy Rowcliff, transportation director. Not pictured is Stephanie Peebles, RN, middle school nurse.
Dr. Patrick Eakes of Philadelphia talks with administrators in the Neshoba County School District as they finalize plans for the opening of schools for the 2020-21 year. Clockwise, starting at bottom left, are Lashon Horne, high school assistant principal; Dana McLain, high school assistant principal; Cody Killen, middle school principal; Jessie Smith, middle school assistant principal; Kim Baysinger, elementary school assistant principal; Dr. Lundy Brantley, superintendent; Jason Gentry, high school principal; Dr. Penny Hill, assistant superintendent; Dr. Eakes; Brent Pouncey, high school assistant principal; and Jimmy Rowcliff, transportation director. Not pictured is Stephanie Peebles, RN, middle school nurse.
The Neshoba County School District has finalized plans for the opening of the 2020-21 school year, following weeks of planning to help ensure a healthy environment for students and staff in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which shuttered its campus in March.

School officials have worked closely with their Parent and Teacher Advisory Boards over the past several weeks as well as with the Mississippi Department of Health, the American Association of Pediatrics, local doctors, attorneys and the Mississippi Department of Education, which provided guidelines for school districts statewide.

“We are planning to go back traditionally on Aug. 5 but with precautions,” Superintendent of Education Lundy Brantley said.

Parents will be urged to send their students to school with their own masks to wear on buses and in buildings while masks, shields and silver-infused gloves will be made available for all administrators, teachers and other staff members.

The gloves basically neutralize bacteria, Brantley said.

“We are giving our staff autonomy but we are giving them what they need to be safe,” he said.

Masks will be required for any student, teacher or other staff member when being treated inside the school clinics or Neshoba General’s clinic on campus.



Students will sanitize hands as they get on buses and as they exit vehicles in the mornings. They will sanitize again before they enter a classroom or other facility on campus.

The Neshoba School District has purchased 17 fogger machines which disperse chemicals to disinfect all classrooms, athletic, band and other extra-curricular facilities as well as offices, etc.

“The janitorial staff will work in split shifts, with one group working from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Brantley said. “As soon as everyone vacates the buildings, they will go through and disinfect basically sealing off the buildings. The foggers will be also used each day to disinfect buses.”

The goal of the district’s new sanitation protocol is to encapsulate the buildings and buses each day to ready them for re-entry the next morning.

 “We will also limit outside people from entering the buildings as much as possible and require them to wear masks,” Brantley said.

Every Neshoba Central classroom and bus will have school-supplied spray hand sanitizer and disinfectant. 

School cafeterias, equipped with hand sanitizer and disinfectant, will open on the first day of school, though officials plan to start the year off with grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches, like biscuits and sandwiches, for a period of time.  

“Students will eat in a classroom,” Brantley said, noting that teachers will have the option of taking the students outside for lunch.

Plexi-glass is being added in all the offices with a notch at the bottom, similar to what convenience stores are doing, he said. 

Teachers will be given school-supplied rubbing alcohol which will be used to clean computer keyboards after every use.

“We are hoping a lot of these measures will bring a reduction in flu cases in the district as well,” Brantley said.

Students can expect to have physical education as well as recess when they return in August.

“We are going to try to keep them somewhat distanced but outside fresh air is a huge, positive component. We will find a way to do it smartly,” Brantley said.