What to expect when Louisiana schools reopen in August

Staff Report
Plaquemine Post South

Louisiana Superintendent Cade Brumley has released a 20-page plan on how schools will operate when they reopen in August with coronavirus still embedded in the state.

Brumley's plan addresses social distancing, response when a student, staff member or teacher is infected with COVID-19 and bus transportation in Phases 1, 2 and 3. The state is currently in Phase 2.

Students in grades 3-12 will be required to wear masks.

The new superintendent said schools are entering "uncharted territory."

"Systems across Louisiana responded by stepping into gaps for children," he said in a letter. "With a new school year approaching, we are providing you with guidance and support for a strong start for every student.

"These resources were developed through collaboration with experts on the virus — public health officials — and experts on what this guidance looks like when put into practice — school leaders and educators. Health guidelines are outlined by the Louisiana Department of Health to ensure student safety. Beyond those, we’ve included best practices to be considered as schools reopen."

Some highlights of the plan:

  • Practice social distancing and congregate in small groups with minimal contact with other groups.
  • Students in grades 3-12 will be required to wear masks if they don't have breathing issues. Staff will be required to wear masks.
  • Students and staff will be monitored for symptoms each day, including upon entry.
  • Any student with COVID-19 must remain home until he or she has recovered and has been deemed non-infectious by a doctor.
  • Anyone who comes within close contact of someone infected at school (less than 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) should be isolated at home for 14 days.
  • Schools may close for 3-5 days if they are determined to be an ongoing source of spread. That will be determined by school leadership in consultation with regional medical directors.
  • Maximum group sizes should be 10 including adults in Phase 1, 25 including adults in Phase 2 and 50 including adults in Phase 3.
  • Groups should be separated when outdoors.
  • Hand hygiene stations should be positioned throughout the school.
  • Bus occupancy is limited to 25 percent in Phase 1, 50 percent in Phase 2 and 75 percent in Phase 3.
  • Staggered class changes should be implemented to limit hall traffic.
  • Visitors will be limited.
  • Usage of large spaces like gyms and auditoriums should be maximized for social distancing.
  • Changes should be made to drop-off and pick-up points so as to limit contact.
  • Sports will follow Louisiana High School Athletic Association guidelines.