Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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State health officials address school closures amid COVID-19 pandemic

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BATON ROUGE- Kids have returned to school amid intense efforts to protect them from COVID-19.

Health officials say the focus is on making sure everyone diligently follows safety protocols. If that happens, schools will be able to stay open.

"Despite the disruptions, we did not see a lot of in-classroom transmission," said Dr. Joseph Kanter, the state health officer.

He says the goal to keep students healthy and in the classroom is attainable.

"Through the mechanisms that we know are meaningful, particularly masking, in-person education can occur without an undue risk of transmission.," Kanter said.

But over in Ascension Parish, 9-12th grade students at Ascension Catholic High were sent home for virtual classes.

The decision comes after more than a dozen COVID cases were found among students during their very first week. Students there are set to return to the classroom August 18.

"If it's in the community, it's in our homes, so it's very difficult to prevent it," said Stacey Dupre, EBRPSS Chief Officer for Support.

In Livingston Parish, officials say closing schools is not an option.

School leaders in East Baton Rouge Parish said they have no plans to close schools but intend to monitor cases and follow guidelines from medical advisors.


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