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State school board eases distancing requirements for Louisiana classrooms

6 months 3 days 3 hours ago Tuesday, March 23 2021 Mar 23, 2021 March 23, 2021 9:43 PM March 23, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Following the CDC's lead, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education announced it has approved revisions to the state's minimum COVID-19 safety requirements for schools.

In a statement, the board said it adopted revisions removing the six-feet spacing requirement for students in classrooms and adjusting it to reflect the latest safety guidelines from the Louisiana Department of Health.

Read the full statement below.

In response to updated guidance issued recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding COVID-19 related distancing recommendations for schools, BESE President Sandy Holloway has approved revisions to the state’s minimum COVID-19 health and safety standards for Louisiana school facilities.

Effective immediately, the revisions to the standards remove the specific physical distancing requirement of six feet, and insert the provision that distancing requirements shall be in accordance with current Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) guidelines, as informed by the CDC.

On March 19, 2021, the CDC updated its K-12 school guidance to reflect the latest science on physical distance between students in classrooms. The CDC now recommends that, with universal masking, students should maintain a distance of at least three feet in classroom settings.

"Louisiana’s education leaders are committed to ensuring a safe and productive learning environment as we move incrementally toward the restoration of normal classroom and school operations," said Holloway. "As research and information related to COVID-19 mitigation continues to evolve, we will continue working to align policies with the latest recommendations from the Louisiana Department of Health and CDC as necessary and appropriate."

The policy passed by BESE in July 2020 that established the statewide standards included a provision that appropriate revisions may be made based on updated recommendations issued by the CDC or the LDH. Holloway’s approval of the revisions, by emergency rule under interim authority, is scheduled to be ratified by the full Board at its next regular meeting on April 21, 2021. The emergency rule may be viewed here.

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