SCHOOL REOPENING GUIDELINES & RESOURCES | LEARN MORE AT LOUISIANABELIEVES.COM
In light of the Governor’s Roadmap to Restarting Louisiana, the Department is issuing guidance pertaining to opening public and nonpublic school facilities to serve students in the 2020-2021 school year. This guidance is relative to operating schools in Phases 1, 2, and Phase 3 of reopening.
This guidance is based on current medical knowledge of how COVID-19 is transmitted, primarily through close physical contact, vocal and musical activities during which aerosol particles might be emitted, and touching shared surfaces or objects.
Protective measures in school settings include:
- Social distancing, achieved by establishing and, for the maximum number of days possible, maintaining small groups of individuals that minimally interact with other groups or individuals, including in shared indoor spaces;
- Monitoring students and staff for symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat; and
- Practicing frequent environmental cleaning and handwashing.
Please review federal guidelines for information pertaining to vulnerable individuals.
School Planning for COVID-19 Cases
- Given the levels of COVID-19 currently in our communities, schools should plan for and expect that some students will get COVID-19 during the school year.
- As part of their planning to reopen, schools should expect that there will be students who get COVID-19 and that those students will possibly expose other students/staff in the school setting.
- Students who are sick should stay home (regardless of illness).
- Students who have COVID-19 should stay home and remain isolated until they have recovered and have been determined to no longer be infectious by their doctor.
- Individuals who were in close contact of the student may be identified and contacted as part of the Office of Public Health (OPH) contact tracing process.
- Close contact of a case is a person who was less than six feet away from the student for more than 15 minutes, determined by the OPH contact tracing process.
- Close contacts will be asked to stay home and monitor symptoms for 14 days.
- Not every student/faculty member in a school will need to stay home for 14 days, just those who are identified as close contacts to a case.
- There are steps that schools can take when a student or staff member has been identified as having COVID-19.
- Communication plan to faculty, students and parents
- Plans for both routine and “deep” cleaning
- Ensure continuity of education for students/staff who are quarantined or isolated
- Prepare plans for school closures (3-5 days) if the school environment is determined to be a source of ongoing COVID-19 spread
- The decision to close schools is an individual, case-by-case process. That decision will ultimately be made by school leadership, with guidance and expertise from their Regional Medical Director.
- All decisions about implementing school-based strategies (e.g., dismissals, event cancellations, other social distancing measures) will be made locally, in collaboration with the superintendent/principal and Regional Medical Director.
- Factors that will be considered in closing a school or classroom will be the level of community transmission, number of students/faculty affected and risk of spread at the school.