COVID regulations not limited to public schools
The regulations set by the state for the next school year will serve as the blueprint schools to function, but they’re not limited to the public sector.
The rules and requirements the Louisiana Department of Education and the Board of Elementary Education will also apply to private and parochial schools.
It’s a scenario the schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, which operates St. John School in Plaquemine.
St. John will begin classes Aug. 7, however, not all students will report to school on Aug. 7.
Friday, Aug. 7 - ONLY students in grades 10-12 report to school
Monday, Aug. 10 - ONLY students in grades 6-9 report to school
Tuesday, Aug. 11 - ONLY students in grades 1-5 report to school
Wednesday, Aug. 12 - students in grades 1-12 report to school; first half of Pre-K and K students report to school (PreK-K parents will be notified of their child's start day)
Thursday, August 13 - students in grades 1-12 report to school; second half of Pre-K and K students report to school (PreK-K parents will be notified of their child's start day)
Friday, Aug. 14 - All students in all grades report to campus
Students should wear regular uniforms on these days. These will be full days of school.
At St. John, students in grades 3 and up will be required to wear masks in shared spaces on campus, and in the classroom in some circumstances. All students will be allowed to wear a mask at any time, if they choose. Masks do not have to be a particular color or style, but masks should be free of inappropriate language or artwork
The diocese will adopt changes in protocol from school to school, according to Dr. Melanie Palmisano, Superintendent of Catholic School.
“One size fits none,” she told The Catholic Commentator.
The protocol will mean that students must change the room configurations, remove bookcases, reading corners and other furniture from the room to comply as a means of creating more square footage and meet social distancing requirements.
School officials have also worked with consultants from Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, who are visiting schools throughout the Diocese to determine the layout of the classrooms, as well as how to handle the protocol for lunch, recess and traffic through the hallways between classes.
The diocese may also tweak start and end times at each schools but try to keep them as close to the normal hours daily.
Temperature could be a part of the school day in nonpublic schools, but those plans have not yet been confirmed.
For recess, schools will not allow students to participate in contact sports. Recreation equipment will be off limits during the pandemic.
Lunches will likely be served for students to eat at their desks, although “grab and go” meals may be offered at some of the Diocesan schools. Some may offer the option for students to eat outside when weather permits.
The Diocese will also the follow the protocol of other schools on students who test positive. Under the state guidelines, those students will be quarantined for 14 days.