MSMS administrations’ quarter four covid response


Caleb Jenkins

MSMS plans to have both juniors and seniors on campus this quarter.

Nicholas Djedjos, Copy Editor

With the fourth quarter already two weeks in, MSMS administration has announced new policies regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to students arriving on campus, Executive Director Germain McConnell sent a schoolwide email on March 21 that students who sign up for vaccines will be permitted to leave campus to get them and be provided transportation.

“We have heard from a few parents whose children are being scheduled for Pfizer vaccination…Also, please communicate with Ms. [LeAnn] Alexander, and she will arrange transportation,” said McConnell. “Students will not be allowed to drive themselves off campus.”

For students needing a vaccine, this was a welcome development. Junior Maggie Buck recently received her shot and shared her thoughts.

“I feel good about the school allowing students to get the vaccine and providing transportation to get it,” said Buck.

Although juniors and seniors have been able to live together on campus due to special circumstances and sports, an official rotation of juniors on campus and seniors off and vice versa has been in effect since the second quarter. In a more recent school update, McConnell announced a step towards normalcy: both juniors and seniors will be able to reside on campus starting April 18. According to the email, out of the 174 students who would live on campus during their designated times, nearly 90% would remain on campus if their roommate came. 

For senior Michael Lu, this development is integral to the MSMS experience.

“Throughout the entire school year, there’s been a divide between juniors and seniors. With the hybrid style learning environment, MSMS’s juniors never fully connected with the seniors,” said Lu. “I believe that an important part of creating a strong MSMS community is a strong companionship between both juniors and seniors.”

This new development comes with precautions–namely, students need to hold themselves and their classmates accountable for COVID-19 restrictions.

“As consistently stated, we are still in a pandemic, but we can maintain a safe living-learning environment if we all take proper safety measures,” said McConnell. “More students on campus increases the risk of infection.”

Another major event mentioned in the email was prom, a hallmark of junior and senior year that will be held on May 1. Junior class president Vineel Vanga was unsure of the logistics from the beginning, but now he and his officer team are excited to move forward with their prom planning.

“We were very worried about prom happening this year. One of our very first meetings as officers was just discussing prom safety as we knew that that was the first checkpoint we had to go through,” Vanga said. “When we think of prom we all think of the same thing, but with covid-19 in the way we had to think of a heavy alternative to many of the prom festivities, which made it more stressful on our end… We also didn’t know prom would happen 100% until Dr. McConnell gave the announcement email, but we are happy we can move forward with our plan!”  

Honors Convocation, an annual ceremony to mainly recognize the senior class, will be held virtually. The award program recognizes excellence in major subjects and Hall of Fame inductees. Senior Anh Mi Nguyen believes this choice was a responsible one, taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think that this is an appropriate response by the administration due to the large number of students that would potentially attend this event and, while it is still a memorable event for many, its importance does not override our safety,” said Nguyen.

However, graduation will tentatively happen in person at Humphrey Coliseum at Mississippi State University on Sunday, May 23. Lu is excited to end this convoluted year in person with friends and family.

“I’m in full support of the decision to keep graduation in person. I understand that the covid-19 situation isn’t fully cleared out yet, but I know that a lot of students have gotten vaccinated,” Lu said. “I also know that the administration has done a good job of maintaining the health and safety of the students. Graduation is a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m glad that I can enjoy that moment eye to eye with my peers.”