Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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East Baton Rouge looks ahead to unusual fall semester

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BATON ROUGE - School systems have a lot of homework to do before students can return to campuses after the summer break. The CDC released new guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19 among children.

Thursday was the last day of school for many students in East Baton Rouge Parish. Most other school districts in the Capital Area will wrap up Friday. But there are already some CDC recommendations for reopening schools in the fall. 

Dr. Tia Mills, President of the Louisiana Association of Educators, says there are a lot of mixed feelings about these guidelines. 

"We do have schools that I'm pretty sure are ready to implement these new guidelines in full force, but there are a number of schools out there who are not," Mills said. 

-The CDC says every student above the age of 2 should wear masks when school reopens. 

-There should be staggered arrival and dismissal times.

-Desks should be at least six feet apart and all facing the same direction. 

-The agency suggests students have lunch in the classroom and not in the cafeteria.

-School buses should leave every other row empty. 

-The CDC also suggests daily temperature checks for everyone. 

-If a teacher or student is infected with COVID-19, the CDC recommends that schools close for two to five days to disinfect.

"Once we are done reviewing all aspects of the new guidelines, it's important that the community look at it as something that can definitely be implemented," Mills said. 

Though the future is still uncertain, Mills says one thing is for sure:

Their priority is to keep students safe. 

"When the pandemic transpired, we were very knowledgeable about the fact that education, as we know it, could possibly look different," Mills said. 

As of right now there is no official ruling on whether or not students will be allowed to return to their building when the new school year begins.

A statement from the Louisiana Department of Education in regard to the new guidelines can be found below.

The Resilient Louisiana Commission is working hand-in-hand with public health officials to develop health and safety guidance aligned to Louisiana's phased reopening.

To date, the Louisiana Departments of Health and Education have issued guidelines for summer school, summer camps and summer extracurricular activities, as well as for child care sites. They are now in the process of reviewing summer guidelines related to school transportation and athletics.

As monitoring continues and the state enters new phases of reopening, there will be additional guidelines released for the operation of schools during the 2020-2021 school year.


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