LIVINGSTON, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – There’s a new item on the school supply list this year — face masks.
Apart from Gov. John Bel Edwards’ statewide mask mandate, face coverings will be required in all Livingston Parish schools this year.
According to the “LPPS Start Strong” plan released last month, face coverings must be worn “by all adults and students third grade and above, to the greatest extent possible or required if mandated by the most recent Governor’s Proclamation and BESE guidance.”
Students in grades 2 and below are exempt from this guideline, though they may wear a mask if they choose.
The plan also states that “individuals with severe breathing difficulties” do not have to wear face coverings.
After months of uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020-21 school year officially gets underway in Livingston Parish on Friday, Aug. 7. This will mark the first time students set foot on campus since mid-March when Edwards shut down all schools statewide to curb the spread of the virus.
Following the governor’s recent extension of Phase Two, the Livingston Parish Public Schools system will start the year in Phase Two of its reopening plan, which features a mixture of in-person and virtual learning, depending on the grade level.
This week, Superintendent Joe Murphy announced that almost 93 percent of the district’s near 26,000 students had opted for on-campus learning instead of the 100-percent virtual model.
During Phase Two, students in grades Pre-K-2, students with significant disabilities participating in alternate assessment, and students attending the ELEC Center will report to class for in-person instruction five days a week.
Meanwhile, the district has implemented an A/B model to provide in-person instruction to half of the parish’s students in grades 3-12 on alternating days. On days students are not on campus, they’ll learn through online methods.
Face coverings are being required on campus in all three phases of the reopening plan, which will mirror the phase Edwards has set for the state.
According to the “LPPS Start Strong” guidelines, face coverings “must be school appropriate,” though students are allowed choice of color, design, and pattern. Face coverings may reflect a student’s name or monogram but should be free of wording, slogan, advertisement, or inappropriate graphics.
School logos, names, and/or mascot graphics are allowed, as well as gaiters-style masks.
Bandanas are not allowed, according to the guidelines.
On its website, the Livingston Parish Public Schools system has answers to a series of “frequently asked questions” pertaining to face coverings. Listed below are those questions and answers:
(To view the “LPPS Start Strong” plan, click here.)
Do students have to wear face coverings inside the classroom? What if they can’t be six feet apart in their classroom?
Adults and students (3rd grade and up) must wear face coverings during transition times, inside and outside of the classroom, and other times when they cannot observe social distance recommendations.
Do students in Pre-K through 2nd grade have to wear face coverings?
While inside the school facility and on LPPS school busses, students in grades prekindergarten through second grade may wear a face covering.
Are students required to wear facial coverings on a bus?
All adults (as able) must wear a facial covering while engaged in the transportation of students. Students (3rd grade and older) must wear facial coverings to the maximum extent possible while being transported. Additionally, K-2 students should be encouraged to wear facial coverings when possible on school transportation.
What if your child forgets his/her face covering?
The school will have a mask available.
What are the guidelines for face coverings?
Students are allowed choice of color, design, and pattern. Face coverings may reflect student’s name or monogram. Should be free of wording, slogan, advertisement, or inappropriate graphics. School logo, name, and/or mascot graphics are allowed. Gaiter-style masks are allowed. No bandanas. The school will have a mask available as needed.
My child has a medical condition that prevents him/her from wearing a covering. What documentation is needed?
If teachers are six feet away from students, can they remove their face covering?
Am I required to wear a face covering when entering school offices to check my child in/out or handle other business?
Yes, wearing a face covering is required to enter the office.
David Gray | The News