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DeSoto Parish students head back to class on Aug. 4

Students and faculty in DeSoto Parish head back to school Wednesday, Aug. 4, one of the first...
Students and faculty in DeSoto Parish head back to school Wednesday, Aug. 4, one of the first districts to do so in the ArkLaTex.
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 4:35 AM CDT
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DESOTO PARISH, La. (KSLA) - Students across DeSoto Parish are waking up extra early on Wednesday morning to return to school, as summer break comes to an end.

With the extra-transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus spreading across the state, district leaders are taking precautions to protect students, staff and families.

Masks, of course, are required for everyone inside school buildings. Governor John Bel Edwards’ executive order requiring masks until September 1 took effect Wednesday.

Here are some other measures DeSoto Parish is taking to keep its most important resources healthy:

  • FACE COVERINGS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY (INDOORS OR OUTDOORS): Pursuant to Executive Order 137 JBE 2021, face coverings are now mandated for all K-12 students and employees when indoors and unable to safely social distance.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANING: DeSoto Parish Schools will continue its efforts toward daily cleaning and disinfecting. High-touch surfaces will be cleaned multiple times throughout the school day. Restrooms and other common areas (corridors, lobbies, libraries, meeting rooms, etc.) will be cleaned prior to the school day and at least at mid-day. Drinking fountains will remain closed. Students and employees are encouraged to bring personal water bottles for refilling.
  • PHYSICAL STANDARDS: Schools will continue to establish controlled routines for entrance, exit, and class exchanges to maximize distancing to the greatest extent possible.
  • PERSONAL HYGIENE: Students and employees will continue to have access to handwashing stations and hand sanitizer throughout the day. Students and employees will be encouraged to utilize hand sanitation resources when entering the school, exchanging classes, before and after eating, and other times throughout the day as would be appropriate.
  • GROUP SIZES: Maximum group sizes are no longer prescribed but an effort to remain attentive to distancing to the greatest extent possible should be pursued for both classrooms and large spaces. Adults will work to maintain distance to the greatest extent possible when working with students within the context of effective instructional practices. Schools will be able to utilize large spaces such as cafeterias and gyms without the necessity of barriers or dividers between individual groups.
  • CONFIRMED COVID POSITIVE CASE RESPONSE: DeSoto Parish Schools will continue to work to identify close contacts to any confirmed positive case so that close contacts can be properly notified and provided information for the appropriate response. Schools will continue to isolate students that develop symptoms during the school day until their parents can pick them up.
  • MONITORING AND SCREENING FOR COVID-19 SYMPTOMS: Schools will no longer be required to screen students at the beginning of each school day. It is important that all students and staff properly monitor their own symptoms and conduct proper screenings prior to attending school or work for the safety of themselves and others. No student or staff member should attend school or work when experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms or experiencing a fever even without having other symptoms.
  • OUTDOOR AND INDOOR SPECTATOR PROTOCOLS: Capacity guidance for school-related events and spectator capacity for athletic events will be found on the Louisiana State Fire Marshal website, opensafely.la.gov.
  • TRANSPORTATION: As specified in the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) 2021-22 Operational Guidelines, ALL passengers on a school bus MUST wear a facial covering while using transportation, regardless of the capacity of the bus per Presidential Executive Order No. 13998 for Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel. Buses will be sanitized daily. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available on each bus. Seating charts will be kept and consistently enforced.
  • VISITORS: Schools will continue to limit any nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations as much as possible.
  • VOCAL MUSIC, BAND, AND ATHLETICS: Band and vocal music will follow the National Federation of State High School Associations and the National Association for Music Education Guidance. Athletics in high school and middle school will follow requirements as provided by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA).
Back to School '21
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