Back to School: Importance of health hygiene in the classroom this school year

What is required of students, parents and teachers?
Posted at 11:15 AM, Aug 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-09 13:19:22-04

It's a different school year but Covid-19 has not gone away. What are the rules, the regulations and perhaps, the recommendations?

Nearly three years after the start of the pandemic, did school administrators really think we’d still be talking about Covid?

“I don't think anyone predicted when we stepped into these roles as parents that in 2020 we'd face an international pandemic,” offers Jennifer Gardner, Asst. Superintendent of the Lafayette Parish School System.

And according to the Louisiana Department of Health, that pandemic hasn't really gone away. “Scott, we have a lot of Covid-19,” says Dr. Tina Stefanski, Director of Louisiana Department of Health in Acadiana. “We're hoping we're on the downward slope of the 6th surge, this Omicron variant is very contagious from one person to another.”

LDH and school systems from around Acadiana have been in almost constant contact, the last couple years, and when it comes to Omicron, when it comes to Covid-19, they say use common sense. “Think good health hygiene. If your child's sick, keep them home. get those at-home covid tests, so you can test your child,” suggests Stefanski. Gardner agrees. “Any parent that wakes up to find their child is sick, keep the child home to keep their child and others safe from any type of disease.” Masks were commonplace over the past couple of years, but now, they're more of an option, more of a recommendation. “Masking, while not popular, is still always a consideration. That does help protect your child in the school setting.” But again, masking is just a recommendation. “Currently, there is no state mandate about masks; the board voted to remove all Covid restrictions last February.” No mandate, but, masks aren’t completely off the table, either. “There is a caveat,” explains Stefanski. “If the child is expose or had Covid, they might have to go back to school wearing a mask for a couple of days, just like adults do at some jobs.”

And what about vaccines? Necessary? Required? Suggested? “We support anyone who had vaccines or boosters, but there's no mandate,” answers Gardner.

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