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For the most part, schools in Louisiana have opened back up for "in-person" learning after a brief stint with distance learning in the beginning.  This "normal" form of education has been made safer with new policies put in place to protect students and faculty from the spread of COVID-19.  That being said, you can bet that every school district has a plan-b in regards to procedures in the case of a new outbreak.

The St. Helena Parish School District in south east Louisiana has issued a pretty shocking new policy in order to avoid a spike of new cases in their schools.  KLFY is reporting that school officials are requiring all students take a COVID-19 test.  If the student doesn't have a signed form stating that they have taken the test and were negative for the virus - they won't be allowed on any district school campus.  Students that refuse to take the test will be required to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

They have also changed the policy on mask-wearing.  If a student isn't wearing a mask, or is wearing one improperly (under the nose, under the chin, etc.) - they will be issued out of school suspension and a 14-day quarantine.

You can read the official statement from the St. Helena Parish School District here:

The St. Helena Parish School District considers the health and well-being of our students and staff to be of the utmost importance. Through our partnership with Southeast Community Health Systems, we have established policies and protocols to mitigate COVID-19 exposure while our employees and students are on campus.

Our measures are working, and we have not had to shut down our schools. However, it is difficult to maintain our safe school environment when a lot of our students are exposed to the virus while at their homes. Unfortunately, we have cases where families, despite the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), attend large gatherings or other community events that can expose them to COVID-19.

It is with that in mind the following provisions have been taken, with no exception:

1. All students are required to submit the Southeast Community Health Systems Consent Form to return to school. No student will be allowed on any campus without the signed form. Visit our district website to access the online form or complete the paper copy that was sent home with your student.

2. All students will be tested for COVID-19 this Monday, November 16th. If a parent decides not to have their child tested, that student must quarantine for 14 days.

3. All schools will be closed Friday, November 13th for deep cleaning. No virtual classes will be held on that day either. Schools will reopen Monday, November 16th.

4. Students must always wear their face masks on the bus and at school. While all students are aware of this requirement, some fail to comply. Future non-compliance will result in out of school suspension and a 14-day quarantine.

5. Parents/guardians must inform the school immediately if their child is suspected of having COVID-19 or experience COVID-like symptoms. That student and any children living in the same household must remain home. In addition, all students in the home must be tested and provide the school with their negative test results before returning to school.

COVID-19 is real. Our nation is experiencing a second wave of this virus that is threatening the lives of all citizens. We are all going to have to do our part if we want our schools to remain open. The health and safety of our employees and students will be protected. As such, these strict provisions are necessary and will not be compromised.