Schools, churches and libraries experience first week of closure

By BRYAN DAVIS PUBLISHER,

Much of the nation was shocked last week when several major sporting events were completely shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outbreak caused the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournament, as well as suspensions of the NBA and MLB regular seasons.

College spring sports, baseball in particular, has been cancelled for the year.

It did not take long for the restrictions related to the coronavirus to trickle down to the local level.

By Saturday afternoon, local churches were already advising members about the need for social distancing and  good hand hygiene, in preparation for Sunday services.

By Saturday night, many were announcing services would be cancelled.

Some were able to live stream their Sunday morning sermons on Facebook, while some still met, with extreme precautions in place.

Delta Missions Director Herron Wilson told The E-T this week that all activities at the mission are suspended.

Delta Missions currently serves around 80 local youth on Saturdays and 40 elderly people for a half day on Wednesdays.

The Sunflower County Consolidated School District also announced on Saturday plans to extend spring break at least a week.

Indianola Academy, North Sunflower Academy and Restoration Ministries Christian Academy all extended spring break a week, with plans to evaluate whether to remain closed another five days.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association and the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools both halted athletics for the foreseeable future.

With nearly another week in the books, the Centers for Disease Control guidelines are getting stricter, recommending gatherings of no more than 10 people.

On Monday, the Sunflower County Library System announced it was closing all branches until April 1.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a fluid event so additionally we will adhere to the latest guidance from public health officials concerning future closing and reopening when such guidance from public health officials indicates the risk from COVID-19 has significantly subsided,” SCLS said in a statement.

Indianola’s biggest tourist attraction, the B.B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center announced on Monday it was closing as well.

The museum hosts over 25,000 visitors a year, many from European countries who are now restricted from traveling to the United States.

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