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Acadiana district decisions on face masks in schools

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Posted at 4:48 PM, Oct 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 21:17:35-04

Due to the decline in COVID cases, the current mask mandate set forth by the Governor has been lifted, effective October 27, 2021, for school districts that follow the existing quarantine guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Read the proclamation here.

KATC has reached out to each school district in the area to see what, if any, decision has been made regarding face masks in schools.

ACADIA PARISH

The Acadia Parish School System will adhere to the following protocols effective Thursday, October 28, 2021.

  • The use of cloth face coverings by students and employees are highly recommended especially for those that are considered at-risk, but the decision as to their use is left to the discretion of the parent and employee.
  • Face masks shall continue to be worn on school buses.
  • All quarantine decisions for students and employees shall be governed by LDH guidelines and the School System transition back to those quarantine guidelines as outlined in the Governor's Proclamation.
  • All other COVID protocols will remain in place.

EVANGELINE PARISH

The Evangeline Parish School District will make face coverings/masks optional and follow LDH/CDC quarantine guidelines starting Thursday, October 28. No student or personnel will be penalized for wearing or not wearing a mask/face covering. The EPSB will adhere to the following guidelines effective October 28:

1) The use of cloth face-coverings by students and employees is highly recommended, especially for those that are considered at-risk, but the decision as to their use is left to the discretion of the parent/legal guardian and employee.
2) Per the current United States Presidential proclamation, cloth face coverings shall continue to be worn on all school buses.
3) LDH guidelines shall govern all quarantine decisions for students and employees (contact tracing, notification of close contacts on positive cases, mandated quarantine timeframes, etc.) and we will transition to those quarantine guidelines as outlined in the Governor's Proclamation.
4) All other COVID protocols shall remain in lace.

IBERIA PARISH

The Iberia Parish School Board voted to opt out of the mask mandate for students and employees in schools and office buildings beginning Thursday, November 4, 2021. Masks may be worn by students at a parent’s discretion. Masks are still required on school buses.

LAFAYETTE PARISH

LPSS has its quarantine procedure outlined in the Learn Lafayette plan; therefore, masks are now optional and are not required in the school district for students and staff, according to a spokesperson for LPSS. In the event of a positive case, LPSS will continue to quarantine those in close contact with a positive case. Students and staff members who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine if exposed to a positive COVID case.

Read more here.

As a reminder, federal regulation requires individuals to continue to wear face masks while utilizing public transportation; for this reason, LPSS will continue to require masks on LPSS buses when students are being transported to and from school, and school-related activities. Students will not be allowed on a bus without a mask.

LPSS says they appreciate everyone’s support to slow the spread of this virus by practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and following the established safety protocols on school campuses. The Lafayette Parish School System wants to assure parents that the safety of students and staff is their number one priority as they continue through the school year.

ST. LANDRY PARISH

Effective Monday, November 1, 2021, face-coverings for staff, students, and visitors will be optional in St. Landry Public Schools except when traveling on school buses per the Presidential Executive order and CDC guidelines. SLPSB students will continue to wear face coverings while being transported to and from school and school-related activities. Please note, students attending SLCC, LSUE, or any other college institutions shall follow all of their guidelines while on their campus.

Our district will continue implementing safety protocols such as facility cleaning and disinfecting, social distancing to the greatest extent possible, frequent hand washing, and utilizing bottle-filling stations of communal water fountains. They will continue to perform contact tracing, notify close contacts of positive cases, and follow all quarantine guidelines as outlined in the governor's latest proclamation. Although face coverings are optional inside SLPSB school buildings, they encourage all parents and employees to consult with their physicians when making personal health care decisions.

The school system says they are grateful that their current positivity rate in St. Landry Parish is 1.6 % and the positive cases in the schools are reflective of the parish's effort in mitigating COVID-19.

ST. MARTIN PARISH

St. Martin Parish schools will maintain the mask mandate pending further guidance.

ST. MARY PARISH

The St. Mary Parish School Board voted to opt-out of the mask requirement, making the wearing of masks optional for all students and staff. Masks remain a requirement on all school buses as they are considered public transportation. Beginning on Friday, students and staff may elect to wear a mask if they choose to do so. Additionally, given the acceptance of the opt-out provision, the school system commits to following CDC guidelines for all quarantine or isolation cases related to COVID-19 as applicable under such conditions.

VERMILION PARISH

The Vermilion Parish Schools System says they will be adopting the same policy as Lafayette Parish. Masks are optional with quarantining based on our current CDC and LDH guidelines.

DIOCESE OF LAFAYETTE

In light of Governor Edwards lifting the mask mandate, effective immediately, Bishop Deshotel is opting to allow parents to determine if their children wear masks or not at school. A Diocese spokesperson says this decision was reached because schools are continuing to follow the CDC guidelines concerning quarantine periods after exposure to COVID-19.

In addition, wearing of masks while on school premises will be optional for all personnel.

All Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lafayette are to follow quarantine recommendations issued by the CDC and LDH.

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