ArkLaTex schools respond to mask mandate after governor announces option to opt out
ARKLATEX (KSLA) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday, Oct. 26 that he’s lifting the statewide mask mandate, except for in K-12 schools.
However, those schools can opt out of the mandate if they follow certain CDC guidelines, including protocols for quarantining.
Bossier Parish Schools has announced that students and employees will have the option to not wear a mask starting Wednesday, Oct. 27. School District officials say quarantine protocols will be reinstated and will not be an option if a person is considered a close contact, unless they are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic.
Bossier says masking on school buses is still mandated per presidential order.
Caddo Parish Public Schools announced not long after the governor’s news conference that it will continue the mask mandate nonetheless. The School District released the following statement:
”Caddo Schools will continue current mitigation protocols including masking which continues to be recommended by the Louisiana Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. This plan is supported by our local medical advisors who have noted the mitigation efforts in place allow a safe learning environment for in-person instruction. Caddo has been a state leader in getting students back to in-person instruction in the safest manner possible and we will continue to make decisions with the safety of our students and staff as the top priority.”
Claiborne Parish Public Schools says it will continue to have everyone wear masks on school buses, but masks no longer will be mandated in school buildings. Quarantine protocols will remain in place if a student or teacher is exposed to the virus.
Masks and other face coverings will continue to be an option for students and workers in DeSoto Parish public schools, the School District announced the afternoon of Wednesday, Oct. 27. However, they must be worn on school buses.
Following is the statement posted on the School District’s website:
“The statewide mask mandate has been lifted by Governor Edwards, and we will follow our original operational guidelines which allow mask coverings optional for students and staff. Although masks are optional on school campuses, masks must still be worn on school buses due to the federal transportation mandate. Our district will follow quarantine protocols set forth by the Louisiana Department of Health. If a person is considered in close contact, they must be quarantined to limit the spread of COVID unless fully vaccinated and asymptomatic. We are encouraged by the decline of positive cases in our district. As always, we will continue to monitor the trends of positive cases in our schools and communities and will make adjustments to our mitigation measures if the need should arise.”
The Webster Parish School Board posted the following message Wednesday afternoon:
“Webster Parish School Board Mask Mandate:
“In light of the Governor’s proclamation yesterday, the Webster Parish School Board still strongly encourages the wearing of masks in school buildings, but it is no longer mandated. However, masks are still required to be worn on all school buses as it is a federal mandate. Webster Parish Schools will continue to implement mitigation measures such as social distancing and extensive cleaning as well as following all CDC/LDH mandated quarantine protocol. Keep in mind that quarantining due to COVID-19 exposure will continue.
“We sincerely appreciate your continued support as we navigate through the pandemic. Our staff and student’s health and safety remain our number one priority!”
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