Ouachita Parish schools set to start new school year with COVID-19 protocols in place

Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 8:07 AM CDT
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OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - Ouachita Parish schools are getting set to welcome students back on Wednesday with certain COVID-19 protocols in place to keep everyone safe. The Ouachita Parish School Board is also planning for if someone tests positive during the school year.

OPSB director of safety Marsha Baker says they will be closely monitoring the number and locations of each positive COVID-19 case.

“Trying to organize our classrooms so that we know where every child is sitting,” Baker says. “We know where the teacher is, where the movement is, who’s around who and then, if someone tests positive, we can go back to that seating chart and determine who’s within that close contact range.”

Baker says any person testing positive for the coronavirus will be required to stay at home for at least 10 days plus 24 hours of being symptom-free. Any person deemed being in close contact with that person will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Parents will be notified via call or email if anyone in their child’s classroom tests positive. “If a classroom had a positive, then they’ll get a notification about someone in the class,” Baker says. “Then, they’ll get an additional notification if their child is considered a close contact within that class.”

She is now asking every parent to make sure their contact information is good and current should they have to be notified.

“I can’t tell you the number of times phone numbers change. If the school doesn’t have a good, current phone number or good current email, it’s hard to get in touch with the proper people. So, that’s vital for us in the school setting.”

Baker says each classroom will also be thoroughly cleaned and cleared for 24 hours with each positive case, but their goal is to keep that number to a minimum.

“Parents are trusting us with their children, and we want to do the best job we can to protect their children and protect our staff,” Baker says. “School should be about fun and learning and education. We’re having to put all this extra into it, but we’re going to do everything we can to make it a good experience for the kids.”

For more information, you can visit the Ouachita Parish School Board website, and you can check the Louisiana Department of Health’s school isolation plans here.

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