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Head of state school board calls new student quarantine rule 'concerning'

3 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Friday, October 01 2021 Oct 1, 2021 October 01, 2021 5:09 PM October 01, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Louisiana's top school board is at odds with the state's public schools superintendent over a new policy that would allow parents to keep students in class even if they came in close contact with someone who contracted the coronavirus.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education released a statement Friday in stark opposition to the Louisiana Depart of Education's new "parent choice" policy. The new optional rule, which can be adopted by any public K-12 school in the state, allows parents to decide whether their child will quarantine or stay in school after coming in "close contact."

Previous rules followed CDC guidance and mandated that students quarantine in such instances. 

BESE President Sandy Holloway called the new rule "concerning" and said it could have the "opposite impact" on students' ability to learn in person. 

"Superintendent Brumley’s announcement about shifts in the Department of Education’s COVID-19 guidance regarding quarantine protocol is concerning, given that BESE members were not briefed in advance on the specifics and rationale for the change. Since the outset of the pandemic, the mitigation guidance and policies issued by the LDOE and BESE for K-12 schools have been determined through consultation with the Louisiana Department of Health and in alignment with the CDC. Board members should have had the opportunity to understand these potential shifts, consult with and consider the advice of the Louisiana Department of Health in identifying the safest options for our schools. Under the previous guidance issued, our districts have done a great job in providing safe learning environments for students, and have done their part in mitigating the spread of this deadly virus. Given the pandemic, impacts of Hurricane Ida, and the many disturbances faced already this school year, this is yet another disturbance to teaching and learning that could have the opposite impact in ensuring kids are safely able to engage in in-person instruction."

So far, a handful of schools in the capital area have responded to the new policy from the state education department.

- Ascension Parish - will adopt parent choice option

- Central Schools - undecided

- East Baton Rouge Parish - will NOT adopt parent choice option

- Livingston Parish - will adopt parent choice option

- West Baton Rouge Parish - will adopt parent choice option

- West Feliciana Parish - will adopt parent choice option

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