Clark County in Nevada, the fifth-largest school district in the United States, has recorded 19 student suicides since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March, more than double the number for the same period the previous year
The NSBA said in a letter to the U.S. president that the actions of a father during a school board meeting in June were considered "domestic terrorism." In photo: a classroom in Clark County, Nevada. GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Ethan Miller


  • The two-week shutdown will begin Aug. 23
  • The announcement came days after a 13-year-old Mkayla Robinson passed away from COVID-19
  • Mississippi does not have a state-wide mask mandate for schools
  • Gov. Tate Reeves has downplayed the effects of COVID-19 on children

All schools in the Smith County School District will be closed for two weeks, starting Monday, as COVID-19 cases and quarantines in the area have increased rapidly, a school board member said.

Board member Jay Arrington said the board voted unanimously to shut down schools through a phone conversation Tuesday, Mississippi Today reported. The news came following the death of 13-year-old Mkayla Robinson from COVID-19 over the weekend. She attended classes at the Raleigh High School from Monday through Wednesday before falling ill Thursday.

On Tuesday, the district of more than 2,400 students reported 104 confirmed coronavirus cases among school staff, teachers, and students. As of Tuesday, the number of quarantined people soared to 700, from 400 Friday.

Smith County School District did not have a mask mandate for its back-to-school plan, local newspaper The Clarion-Ledger reported. Students and staff only wore masks if they chose to. The district only reversed its plan on Aug. 10, four days before Robinson passed away after she tested positive for COVID-19.

Mississippi has fully vaccinated 34% of its entire population against 51.4% nationally; Smith County has only fully vaccinated 23% of eligible residents. Mississippi reported 392,00 COVID-19 infections and 7,880 deaths, according to Worldometer data. The U.S. has so far reported 37.8 million COVID-19 infections and 640,000 deaths. The state reported 67 new deaths on Aug. 16, according to the Mississippi health department.

Robinson’s death, which came hours after she tested positive for COVID-19, raised concerns among parents. The Mississippi Department of Health has urged mask-wearing in schools but the state has yet to issue a state-wide mask mandate. Photos posted on school Facebook accounts from the first day of school on Aug. 6 also showed maskless students in hallways walking close to each other.

During a press briefing Friday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said he had “no intention based upon the data that I’ve seen of issuing a statewide mask mandate in our schools,” the Mississippi Free Press reported. He also said that “it is very rare that kids under the age of 12 have anything other than the sniffles.” Despite multiple calls from health officials and parents for a state-wide mask mandate in schools as was enforced last year, Reeves has resisted.

China has approved the emergency use of Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine for children as young as three
China has approved the emergency use of Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine for children as young as three AFP / STR