Officials mull guidelines for upcoming school year

Staff Report

School officials are awaiting the final federal guidelines, but all signs thus far point to a return to the normal classroom settings in Iberville Parish and across Louisiana.

The “Ready to Achieve” webinar last week gave school officials from Iberville and statewide an idea of what protocol they should expect one year after the pandemic triggered sweeping changes in protocol for classroom settings and extracurricular activities.

Iberville Parish School Superintendent Dr. Arthur Joffrion

“The CDC will release guidelines, or ‘best practices’ later in the summer, but the majority of the decision making will be left up to the districts,” Iberville Parish School Superintendent Arthur Joffrion said.

Staff members from the Iberville Parish School System were among the 400 who participated in the webinar hosted by the state Department of Education. The school system received guidelines and will review them before they put anything out to the state school system, Joffrion said.

The biggest change will involve masks.

“What they’re stating is that anyone fully vaccinated is no longer required to wear mask, and if a person fully vaccinated is exposed, they do not have to quarantine,” he said.

Proof of vaccination is another question.

“When you’re dealing with this, you’re dealing with medical information, but we do know 60 percent of our employees were vaccinated through our partnerships, and after that probably more than that 60 percent, but we have not sent out a survey or asked for that information, so that’s where we are,” Joffrion said.

School Board officials remain in the early stages of drawing up guidelines based on recommendations released last week.

The current CDC guidelines indicate that any bus at 100 percent capacity will require that passengers wear a mask.

It does not necessarily mean students will have to wear a mask while aboard a bus.

“Right now, our transportation supervisor Kelsey Dotson does not believe any buses will be at 100 percent capacity,” Joffrion said. “We want to spend some time going through the recommendations and make some informed decisions before we roll out anything.”

The Iberville Virtual Learning Academy, which was established last year as a direct result of COVID, will continue for the 2021-22 school year.

Remote learning will cease and desist, however.

As for steps if a student tests positive for COVID, the Board of Education established the following guidelines:

  • If a school becomes aware of a presumptive positive or positive case of COVID-19, the child should not attend school until determined to be non-infectious by their doctor.
  • Parents may be notified by the Office of Public Health if their child may have been exposed to the case of COVID-19, along with any next steps.
  • If it is determined that a school was the focus of infection for COVID-19, the school superintendent, in consultation with the Office of Public Health, will determine if the school should remain open or close for a period of time. A positive case of COVID-19 does not necessarily warrant classroom or school closure.