Yesterday the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education released their minimum standards for starting school for the 2020-2021 school year. While individual districts will make their own specific plans, these are the minimum guidelines which must be met. BESE oversees 1700 schools and approximately 800,000 students.
Three items will be prioritized in all schools both through education and signage in the schools. These are: hand washing, face coverings, and social distancing. These items were recommended by a number of health professionals including those from both Ochsner and Children’s Hospital of New Orleans.
A few key points from the meeting:
Class size will be determined by phase (we are currently in phase 2). At phase one classes will be no more than ten students including teachers. At phase two twenty-five, and at phase three, fifty. These same guidelines apply to any group meeting a room of any size. Partitions must be erected to keep groups separate if indoors. If outdoors partitions are not required.
Older children who can remain masked will be allowed to switch classes as needed. Younger children who cannot mask should be kept in a unit that does not mix with other units (pods). A positive case of covid will not be cause to shut down the school or quarantine other students. And speaking of masks. . .
Masks will be required for all staff and personnel. Children in grades 3-12 will be required to wear masks as well. All children are encouraged to wear masks except those aged two and younger.
All adults and children will be assessed for symptoms of covid-19 each day upon arrival up to and including a temperature check. Each school shall set up an isolation room where symptomatic children can wait until they are picked up by an adult.
Students must wash hands/use hand sanitizer upon arrival at school. They must wash their hands every two hours they are at school, and before and after meals or using playground equipment. They will also wash their hands before leaving the school building. (editors note: adult hand washing was not addressed)
The number of students allowed on buses will be determined by the current phase. In phase one a bus may operated at 25% capacity, at phase two 50% capacity, and at phase three 75%. Students should be spaced in their seating on the bus.
Exception due to health concerns or disability will be done on an individual basis.