The Louisiana Department of Education announced a new quarantine option for school districts across the state that would allow parents to decide whether students in close contact with COVID-19 are quarantined at home or stay away. school.
âWe just wanted to give the systems an additional option to consider,â said Cade Brumley, state superintendent of education. âCurrently, we have too many students who are quarantined multiple times, and there are unintended academic, social and other consequences of those quarantines. We just feel like local communities and, certainly, empower them. parents to make decisions in the best interests of their children is important. “
Under current COVID quarantine protocols recommended by the Louisiana Department of Health, students in close contact with a COVID-positive person who tests negative must self-quarantine for at least seven days. Students do not have to self-quarantine if they are fully vaccinated or if they were wearing face masks and have walked away when near the COVID-positive person.
As part of the parent’s choice option, this quarantine period would no longer be required. Rather, school systems that choose to implement this option would alert parents that their child was in close contact and offer them the option of quarantining their student or letting them stay in school.
In addition, at that time, tutors would have the option of having their student tested for COVID for free.
âWe need to make sure that we are maximizing the teaching time for our children at this time,â said Brumley. “They desperately need it, and too many of our children miss school. We just want to give that power back to local control and parents, and we think it’s a common sense approach.”
With the 2021-22 school year, LDOE has highlighted the importance of bringing children back to the classroom for in-person learning, as recent data has highlighted the downsides of online education. Studies of LEAP 2021 scores have shown that in-person students outperform their virtual learning peers with an average of 15% higher proficiency and advanced scores. Meanwhile, virtual students had about twice the percentage of students rating Unsatisfactory compared to their in-person learning peers.
Despite efforts to get children back to school, Brumley said the high number of students in quarantine frustrates educators and parents.
“We know there are consequences of not having our children in school, and we have to weigh those risks against each other,” Brumley said. “We believe this is a decision that can be made at this local level with this local community so that they can make the decision that is in the best interests of their children.”
Brumley said LDH has funds for COVID testing in schools, and it encourages districts to work with them to coordinate future screening efforts.
The quarantine option chosen by parents must be approved by a school system to take effect. The option does not change the way school districts treat COVID-positive students and students with COVID symptoms.
For more information on LDH quarantine recommendations for schools, visit bit.ly/3kTjuXP.
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