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What do those new COVID restrictions mean for schools?

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Posted at 5:24 PM, Nov 24, 2020

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued new COVID restrictions.

But one thing he didn't go into was how those changes might affect Louisiana's schools.

We reached out to the governor's office, and they tell us that the state Department of Education is working on that issue, and should be sharing more information soon.

Tonight, we reached out to our local school districts to see what they're doing. Here's what we've learned so far:

Iberia Parish Superintendent Carey Laviolette said state education officials are meeting with governor's staff, and she's expecting that guidance from the DOE. Because school is out, and employees are off for the holiday, it's difficult to implement changes before students return on Monday, she said.

"But we've been through this, and we're prepared, and whatever the guidance is, we'll make it work," she said.

This has been a challenge for schools, she said, but Iberia Parish tries to be prepared by just "trying to expect that things will change."

In Vermilion Parish, Superintendent Tommy Byler posted this on the district's Facebook page:
"Waiting on official notice from Governor's office as to what parts of phase 2 schools are being asked to follow.
Conflicting interpretations from across the state. Said we are phase 2, but school decisions would be left up to the local district. Once I get an accurate answer as to what it means, I will let everyone know through this means, video, and a phone text and call out tomorrow," he wrote. "I would rather give you accurate information the first time and not give you information that could still possibly change 3 times before we return from Thanksgiving. 2020 and Patience - They go together."

Acadia Parish Superintendent Scott Richard said his district is patiently waiting to see the final order. After that, his staff will work with their legal counsel to figure out what changes might be necessary under BESE and DOE guidelines.

St. Martin Parish Superintendent Al Blanchard says his district will also be looking at the final order to decide what changes, if any, will be necessary.