Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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As students return, EBR schools to focus on masking, testing amid Omicron wave

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BATON ROUGE - As COVID-19 infections continue to multiply across the state, largely due to the Omicron variant, the East Baton Rouge Public School System is leaning on mitigation measures installed during previous waves.

Students return to classrooms Tuesday, where masks will remain mandatory. Last week, school leaders announced the fall semester's mask mandate would continue after the holiday break.

"Our goal is to continue to have school and provide education to our students in the most efficient and effective way as possible," Stacey Dupre, the district's Chief Officer of Support and Special Projects, said. "And [in] the safest manner," she added.

The school system's testing program will also continue throughout the spring semester.

Weekly testing is a requirement for all school system employees. Students can also opt-in to the testing program with parental consent.

"What we're looking at with the testing at the school site is trying to catch the cases that are asymptomatic," Dupre said. "Those are the cases that can cause spread because we're not aware of them."

The school system, partnering with Orion Laboratories, administers PCR tests, with results typically available within 24 hours.

Even as some testing sites in the area have reported running out of kits and long lines amid heightened demand, Dupre says that shouldn't impact the school system's plan.

"My conversations with our partner at Orion said they have plenty of tests, and we're OK," Dupre said.


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