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School districts respond to mask exemptions

Will comply with Gov. Edwards' mandate
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Posted at 5:15 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 12:41:28-04

There is new insight from the Louisiana Department of Health on how this fourth surge of COVID is impacting children with more than 6,000 cases reported among children this week alone.

This comes days before children in Louisiana go back to school and as a debate over the mask mandate continues.

KATC reported last night that Attorney General Jeff Landry has posted boilerplate letters online which he says parents can use to make their children exempt from mask mandates.

And we also heard from parents who say they'll be using those letters which claim religious and philosophical objections to the mask mandate.

But Governor John Bel Edwards maintains these objections are not exceptions to the mask mandate under Louisiana law.

KATC asked all school systems in Acadiana if they would accept the letters from the Attorney General as an exemption to the mandate.

So far Acadia, Vermilion, Iberia, Calcasieu and St. Martin parishes have responded, saying they will be following the Governor's mandate, which only includes medical exemptions.

Each full response we've received from the districts is below. This list will continue to be updated as we hear back.

Acadia Parish

"The Acadia Parish School System will follow its legal counsel's advice and comply with the Governor's Covid-19 Public Health Emergency Mitigation Measures Statewide Mask Mandate as written; and, based on that legal advice the mandate does not allow for religious or philosophical objections. We appreciate everyone's continued cooperation, flexibility, and patience as we prepare for the upcoming school year that commences on Wednesday, August 18th, 2021," Acadia Parish Superintendent Scott Richard wrote KATC in an email.

Calcasieu Parish

"As of now, we do have a medical mask exemption form available for staff and students. Outside of that, we are following the governor’s exemptions outlined here," said Holly Holland, Public Information Officer, Calcasieu Parish School Board.

Iberia Parish

"Iberia Parish will be following the governor's mask mandate," Iberia Parish Superintendent stated in an email to KATC.

St. Martin Parish

"Based on the information received from the governor and the LDOE we will not be accepting the letters provided by Mr. Landry," St. Martin Parish Superintendent Allen Blanchard, Jr. wrote in an email to KATC.

Vermilion Parish

"At the present time, the governor's mandate is medical exemptions only. This is currently the only exemptions we are honoring until we receive further guidance from the state department of education, governor's office, or our outside counsel honoring these other exemptions," Vermilion Parish Superintendent Tommy Byler stated in an email to KATC.

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