Local school districts respond to mask mandate lift

Local News

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Local school districts are responding to Gov. Edwards’ announcement on lifting the statewide mask mandate. School districts may opt out of requiring masks as long as they continue to follow CDC quarantining guidelines, according to the governor’s office.

Ascension Public Schools:

Effective Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, face coverings for staff, students, and visitors will be optional in Ascension Public Schools with the exception of school buses per Presidential Executive Order and CDC guidelinesPlease note, Early College Option students and staff must follow River Parishes Community College guidelines while on RPCC’s campus. Although face coverings are now optional inside APSB school buildings, we encourage all parents and employees to consult with their own physicians when making personal health care decisions.

Our district will continue to implement safety protocols such as facility cleaning and disinfecting, distancing to the greatest extent possible, frequent hand washing, and utilizing bottle fillers instead of communal water fountains. We also will continue to perform contact tracing, notification of close contacts of positive cases, and will be transitioning back to required quarantine guidelines as outlined in the governor’s latest proclamation.

We are grateful that positive cases in our school district and community have significantly declined. Thank you to our employees, students, parents, and community for partnering with us to safely keep students in school as much as possible. 

Ascension Public Schools Superintendent David Alexander

Diocese of Baton Rouge:

While I continue to encourage the wearing of masks by and among those who feel vulnerable, masks will no longer be required in places of worship or indoors in parochial facilities. In addition, mask-wearing will be optional in our Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge. This change in policy is effective immediately.  Further guidelines will be issued by the Catholic Schools Office later this week to aid school principals and other leaders in following CDC guidelines regarding quarantine procedures and continued mitigation of viral spread.  

Michael G. Duca

Read the full statement by clicking here.

EBR Schools:

“The East Baton Rouge Parish School System fully intends to continue under our current masking guidance and requirements in order to protect our children, staff and families. As a school system, we have continued to implement the guidance of our Health Advisory Committee. The Health Advisory Committee comprises the leading doctors, epidemiologists and pediatricians from Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, Ochsner Health Systems, Baton Rouge General Hospital and the Louisiana Department of Health. As recently as this afternoon, the leading experts from this committee have continued to maintain that masks and face coverings are one of the most effective tools in protecting our unvaccinated children and school communities. We will continue to review our specific school-level data in partnership with that committee before any additional changes to our guidance are made.”

East Baton Rouge Parish School System Superintendent Sito Narcisse

Iberville Parish School District:

Beginning tomorrow, Thursday, October 28, 2021, masks will be optional in all Iberville Parish School Board office buildings and schools. However, per President Biden’s Executive Order, masks will remain mandatory on buses. We do encourage those with underlying conditions to continue to wear their mask.

As we continue ensuring the health and safety of our school community, we will remain following the guidance of LDH and quarantine those identified as close contacts as well as all other mitigation safety measures.

Lafourche Parish School District:

Governor Edwards has lifted the state mask mandate for Louisiana and all K-12 schools that follow CDC Quarantine guidelines. Lafourche Parish Schools will continue to follow those guidelines. Masks will no longer be required in our schools, effective Wednesday, October 27, 2021. However, students and employees wishing to continue wearing masks may do so. Masks will still be required on school buses.

Livingston Parish Public Schools:

Superintendent Joe Murphy announced today (Oct. 27) that masks will be optional for students and employees while on Livingston Parish Public School campuses, effective tomorrow (Oct. 28), and the district is reinstating guidelines enacted at the beginning of the school year for determining quarantines and close contact tracing.

Superintendent Joe Murphy said the quarantine policy is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Health and is required as part of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proclamation for lifting the mask mandate in public schools.

“It is important to know that current data on positive and close contact cases in our district has diminished greatly over recent weeks, and we believe our decision is supported by that data,” Murphy said.

Murphy said masks will continue to be required for all school bus drivers and passengers, as that is a federal mandate.

The district’s re-enacted quarantine guidelines are as follows:

Quarantines will be required of all positive cases.

Quarantine Options for Exposure to COVID by Employees:

Quarantine can end after 10 days, on day 11, without testing and individual has not exhibited any symptoms

OR

Quarantine can end after 7 days, on day 8, if individual takes COVID test (molecular/PCR/rapid), receives a negative result and has not exhibited any symptoms. The test may be collected on day 5, but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than day 7. (Testing is not mandatory and would be the employee’s responsibility if this option is chosen.)

Quarantine Options for Exposure to COVID by Students:

Quarantine can end after 10 days, on day 11, without testing and individual has not exhibited any symptoms

OR

Parents that choose to have students tested, quarantine can end after 7 days, on day 8, if individual takes COVID test (molecular/PCR/rapid), receives a negative result and has not exhibited any symptoms. The test may be collected on day 5, but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than day 7. (Testing is not mandatory and would be the parent’s responsibility if this option is chosen.)

“Due to proactive decisions made by the Livingston Parish School Board, our district has greatly increased its medical staff across the parish, and all decisions related to quarantine requirements for positive and close contact cases will be based on their medical expertise,” Murphy said.

Pointe Coupee Parish School District

Beginning on October 28th, The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board will recommend indoor mask wearing, but it will no longer be mandated. However, quarantine and isolation guidelines as recommended by the CDC and LDH will continue to be followed.

St. James Parish Schools

While in school buildings, masks are optional for all students, faculty, staff, contractors, vendors, and visitors.

Tangipahoa Parish School System:

We are so pleased that the Governor has acknowledged today the good work our schools have done to help stop the spread of COVID19. Starting tomorrow, masks will be optional in Tangipahoa Parish Public Schools.

West Baton Rouge Schools:

West Baton Rouge Schools have announced that beginning Wednesday, Oct. 27, masks will be optional for students and employees.

Zachary School Board:

The Zachary Community School Board will not make a decision on the Governor’s latest executive order until we have thoroughly reviewed the proclamation. At this time, students and staff are to continue wearing face masks. We will update you tomorrow.

Zachary Community School Board

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