Face coverings optional at Ascension Parish public schools, except on bus

Staff Report
The Ascension Parish School Board office shown in Donaldsonville.

Face covering are optional for all Pre-K through 12th grade students and employees, except while traveling on a bus, according to guidelines from Ascension Parish Public Schools Superintendent David Alexander.

The guidelines have been released ahead of the Aug. 10 return to school for in-person and online learning.

"These guidelines and practices are fluid and could be revised throughout the school year as we respond to fewer cases or an increase in cases," Alexander stated.

Highlights from the public school system's guidelines include:

  • Schools will continue to notify parents, students, and staff when a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 is present at school or a school-related activity.
  • Schools will continue its efforts toward daily cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Maximum group sizes are no longer prescribed but an effort to remain attentive to distancing to the greatest extent possible should be pursued for both classrooms and large spaces. 
  • Schools will no longer be required to screen students at the beginning of each school day. 
  • Schools will continue to establish controlled routines for entrance, exit, and class exchanges to maximize distancing to the greatest extent possible during student transitional routines during the school day. 
  • Students and employees will continue to have access to hand washing stations and hand sanitizer throughout the day. 
  • Schools will continue to limit visitors during the school day.

Most Rev. Michael G. Duca of the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge also released a statement regarding the return to school.

Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge will adopt he following protocols:

  • Masks will be optional.
  • There is no requirement to prove vaccination status
  • Field trips and elementary sports programs will be resumed
  • Daily temperature checks will be eliminated
  • Guidance will be reexamined regarding other protocols including quarantine and physical distancing.

"We will begin the school year in this way. I must be upfront that these guidelines are always subject to change based on circumstances in our communities related to COVID-19, new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Louisiana State Department of Education, and our experience in the classroom," he stated.