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Edwards: Kids won't be going back to school house this year

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Posted at 7:24 AM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 17:42:36-04

Gov. Edwards said he will issue a proclamation tomorrow about the remainder of the school year.

Edwards said students will not go back to campus, but distance learning will continue.

"It is my intention that school will not resume in the sense that students will be going to the school building," Edwards said. "Education will continue, but they won't be going back to campus. Distance learning and all that, those things will continue. And you will have a lot more coming from the districts as to what that will look like."

Edwards said May 20 is typically the end of the year, and sending kids back to the physical school before that time "is just not going to work."

More details will come tomorrow, he said.

Louisiana residents didn't take mitigation measures as seriously as they should have this past weekend, Edwards said.

"I've received reports that people over Easter weekend did not take the stay at home order seriously and mitigation measures were not practiced as they should have been," Edwards said.

He said the numbers continue to indicate a positive trajectory, but that will be reversed if people don't continue the mitigation measures, Edwards said.

"The reason we are trending in the right direction is because of the social distancing, the hygiene practices, the stay at home order. All it takes to have a spike and go back in the other direction is for people to stop practicing the mitigation measures," Edwards said.

A dashboard that tracks cell phone movement and gives states grades according to compliance had Louisiana at a C minus, but after this past weekend our grade is now a D, he said.

"Just because the grocery store is open doesn't mean you need to go, and if you do go, you don't need to bring every member of your family. Go alone," he said.

Edwards spoke on COVID-19 today from Monroe, where tornadoes caused serious damage this weekend.

Edwards said he has spoken with the federal task force about testing, because "nobody wants to be in the dark."

This week there should be news about antibody testing, he said, because that will show which people have the antibodies in their system. A lot of people never had symptoms and thus don't know they had it, he said. If you have the antibodies of the virus, it will be easier to go back to work, he said.

On the tornadoes, Edwards said two tornadoes plowed through Ouachita Parish, causing widespread destruction. All told, the storm caused damage in five parishes, but Ouachita was the worst, he said.

"When you see the extent of the damage, the fact that there were no fatalities and only minor injuries is a miracle," Edwards said. "We should be thankful for that."

The pump station which protects West Monroe from high water took a direct hit from the tornadoes, and the switches there were destroyed. It's now inoperable, which is bad because it's the main protection for the city from high water. He said the state is looking for replacement pumps to help.

"We have about 8,000 structures in Ouachita without power. That's a significant number, and I know that there was some serious electrical infrastructure damage. We need everybody to be patient and treat every line as a live wire," he said.

When asked, Edwards said he didn't stop to talk to any residents as he was surveying the damage, because even though he was wearing a mask he lives in a different part of the state and didn't want to expose anyone. He said it was hard, because it's the first time since he's been governor that he had to tour the site of a natural disaster and couldn't get down and talk to anybody.

Edwards said Vice President Pence had spoken with him about the storm, and said that he and President Trump are ready to send any help needed.

Edwards said the partnerships among local, state and federal agencies and governments are working. It's not perfect, but people are working hard and they are working together, he said.

A total of 884 people have died of the disease in Louisiana. This is an additional 44 deaths since yesterday.

The governor's office says that Edwards will meet with local officials.

A daily briefing on COVID-19 will follow the tour at 3:30 pm.

KATC will live stream the conference on KATC, KATC.com and the KATC Facebook page.

As of noon on April 13, the Louisiana Department of Health says there are now 21,016 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state. This is 421 additional cases since yesterday.

A total of 884 people have died of the disease in Louisiana. This is an additional 44 deaths since yesterday.

A total of 2,134 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized with 461 patients requiring ventilators.

To see the latest statewide number, click here.