Number of LPPS students, faculty in quarantine more than doubles in most recent reporting period, according to superintendent’s figures


Photo Source:
The Livingston Parish News File Photo:
A class is scheduled in September for substitute bus drivers for the Livingston Parish school system.

(The Livingston Parish News) – With Livingston Parish school campuses full of students again, the number of those in quarantine from the novel coronavirus more than doubled in the most recent reporting period, according to figures from Superintendent Joe Murphy.

In the superintendent’s latest update last Friday, there were around 590 students and employees in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 or coming into close contact with a positive case. That’s a jump of 300 from Sept. 25, the most recent update prior to last Friday.

The total number of those quarantined in Murphy’s latest report represents roughly 0.0196 percent of the district’s total 30,000 students and employees.

“Those affected students and faculty are currently exhibiting a combination of asymptomatic and mild symptoms,” Murphy said in the 5-minute video posted on the school system’s Youtube channel.

At the start of the school year, Murphy said the district would release updates pertaining to COVID-19. The updates do not include information that can personally identify a student, family member, or employees, just the percentage of students and employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 or come into close contact with a positive case.

Close contact is considered being within 6 feet of someone for at least 15 minutes.

The releases went out on a weekly basis for the first several weeks of the school year but were recently scaled back to a biweekly basis with the district’s move into Phase Three of its reopening plan, which mirrors the phase Gov. John Bel Edwards has set for the state.

Phase Three allows all students in grades K-12 to receive in-person instruction five days a week on their home campuses. As of Sept. 21, all students have been allowed to return to campus for traditional learning.

In his latest video report, Murphy said the district has transitioned all students back to campus and resumed athletic programs and extracurricular activities.

As of Oct. 16, Murphy said that 0.00269 percent of the district’s students were in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. Another 0.0180 percent of students who were considered to have been in close contact with someone who tested positive were also in quarantine.

Based on the district’s roughly 26,000-student enrollment, that equates to about 70 positive tests among students and 468 who came into close contact. Murphy said all impacted students have been provided with opportunities for daily virtual learning during their quarantine.

As of Oct. 16, Murphy said that 0.00475 percent of the district’s employees were in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, while 0.00825 percent were in quarantine after being in close contact with a positive case.

Based on the district’s 4,000 employees, that equates to 19 positive tests among staff members and 33 who came into close contact.

“It is important to note that since these reported cases and contacts were from a two-week period,” Murphy said. “Some of those testing positive last week are expected to be cleared and return to school next week.”

With more people on campus, Murphy said school leaders and custodial staff have increased cleaning protocols and enhanced site testing. At the same time, school personnel and nursing staff have worked with students and their families to conduct “thorough contact tracing.”

Murphy said the district has increased its enhanced testing to 51 sites. Each site is being tested with ATP meters that identify the level of cleanliness on surfaces in our classrooms and buildings.

The testing procedures grade 10 common traffic areas at each site, including the front main entry door, the waiting area in the front lobby, the cafeteria, the library, the school isolation room, and five random classrooms.

If any of the sites do not achieve a hospital-grade sanitation score, the campuses are re-treated with disinfectants by a team of professionals.

“To date of our 51 sites, over 380 of those areas have been scored at hospital-grade sanitation level,” Murphy said. “Those falling have been re-treated to also be at that same high sanitation level.”

Murphy said the school system is still operating under its Phase Three guidelines until at least Nov. 6, the date Edwards has set for the end of his current Phase Three proclamation.

“We, of course, will continue to follow those guidelines and let you know if there are any changes,” Murphy said.

To view the video, click here.

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