Students on break encouraged to practice strict COVID-19 protocols
The Acadia Parish School System has experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases recently similar to what is occurring in school systems around the state.
However, the school system’s recent increase in positive cases is in direct correlation with the increase that this area is currently experiencing.
Therefore, the system is encouraging all stakeholders to be mindful of good safety protocols during the Thanksgiving Holiday in order to curb the rapid community spread that Acadia Parish is currently experiencing. Social distancing, wearing masks and frequent hand-washing continue to be the main preventive measures recommended by the Louisiana Department of Health, as well as isolating when not feeling well. The LDH continues to urge everyone to take the flu shot as we enter the winter season.
The Acadia Parish School System has been enforcing very strict COVID-19 protocols in consultation with the Louisiana Department of Health, Region Four office and the Louisiana Department of Education for students and staff. Mask-wearing, social distancing to the maximum extent possible, sanitizing buildings more frequently, etc., are ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
According to Acadia Parish School Board Superintendent Scott Richard, another preventive measure focuses on quarantining and isolating close contacts of someone that has tested positive for COVID-19. When a person tests positive, all close contacts (defined as someone who has been within six feet of the individual for fifteen minutes or longer) must quarantine for fourteen days according to the LDH guidelines for schools.
Further, the person that tests positive must “isolate” for ten days. Individuals that quarantine and/or isolate should be symptom free (no fever, no coughing, etc.) prior to returning to school or work. While these periods of time to quarantine or isolate causes hardship and inconvenience, these measures are required by the Louisiana Department of Health to stop the spread and are standard protocol for the school systems. In the event a student or staff member at the schools tests positive, these routine processes are conducted and information is communicated to stakeholders that are affected. These communications are completed in a manner that does not violate anyone’s right to personal medical privacy. It’s important to note that if a person is deemed a “close contact” of someone that has tested positive for COVID-19, it does not mean that the close contact actually has COVID-19. The close contact should monitor their own personal health for any symptoms associated with COVID-19 and should work to get evaluated by their healthcare provider if they start to experience any symptoms.
In addition to these measures, the LDH provides a schedule of free COVID-19 testing in the region, and the Acadia Parish School System posts this information on its website weekly. Normally, there are convenient, drive-through, self-administered testing sites that use the most updated tests for accuracy.
Acadia Parish schools are experiencing an uptick in positive cases due to community spread. However, according to Richard, closing an entire school has not been necessary up to this point. Working through the quarantining and isolation process has helped to prevent schools from shutting down completely. While quarantining, it’s important that individuals monitor their own personal health and avoid contact with others, especially those individuals that are known to be health risks. Also, students that are required to quarantine should work with their respective schools to keep up with class assignments while away from school.
“By working together as a community, we can all help to stop the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season, stated Richard.
“It’s important that we all help to keep our schools functioning so that we can educate our future leaders of Acadia parish. We are very appreciative of everyone’s continued cooperation as we work through the pandemic.”