School districts closely monitoring COVID as Thanksgiving break approaches
As most school districts in the capital area have welcomed all students back to campus, those policies may change after Thanksgiving break.
East Baton Rouge Parish administrators say they are in constant contact with health department officials and plan to make changes to their attendance schedules if the infection rate increases to about 10 percent parish-wide. Currently, it is hovering at around 6.4 percent.
However, St. Helena Parish, a much smaller district with about 1,200 students, is being proactive.
“Ever since the start of this pandemic we've been ahead of the ball game. We've done things necessary to make sure our students and employees to remain safe so this is nothing that is out of line with what we've been doing this whole time,” Superintendent Dr. Kelli Joseph said.
Last week, a single teacher tested positive for the virus and officials jumped into action, pulling students from the classroom and reverting back to an all-virtual model.
“We just feel like it was necessary for us to take this virtual route because one, we have the option to do so; two, the safe and health of our students and employees are top priority; and three, because we made the decision to do the mass testing and started without employees. With the results that we received, we were glad that we were armed with the information in order to make that deliberate decision," Joseph said.
And they’re not stopping there, though students will return to campus after Thanksgiving break, each of them will be tested beforehand.
“Once the students come back they're all going to get tested. We have a school-based health clinic at each of our school sites, through southeast community health systems and they have access to the test and so we are very fortunate that we have access to those resources and we're taking full advantage of it," Joseph said.
Other school districts like Ascension and Livingston do not have plans to make any changes at the moment.
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