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COVID-19 cases have been trending down statewide since K-12 schools and colleges welcomed back their students, and Gov. John Bel Edwards’ announcement that Louisiana will move into phase 3 means fewer state-mandated restrictions on those campuses.
For schools, that means the maximum number of people allowed in a room increases from 25 to 50 — and buses can be 75 percent full instead of just half full. It also means that band, vocal and music activities can be held indoors or out, according to a press release from the Louisiana Department of Education. Despite those announced changes, individuals on campus must continue to follow guidelines around face coverings and social distancing.
“I know our educators look forward to welcoming students back,” State Superintendent Cade Brumley said in the press release. “But they also know this transition has to be done in a way that is mindful and maintains the progress Louisiana has made in pushing back this virus. I encourage system and school leaders to collaborate with their school families to ensure a successful transition.”
But that transition worries Louis David, whose son goes to kindergarten in Baton Rouge. Until now, his son has been doing classes virtually, but now, his school will move to a hybrid in-person/virtual model.
“No matter how we try to look at it, we know that there’s still a possibility that outbreaks can start over again,” David said. “For me, it’s frustrating.”
He added that he felt the preparation for virtual learning was not fleshed out enough, so now he believes his son’s school is rushing to get things back to normal because officials didn’t adequately prepare to conduct virtual learning.
Louisiana State University enters Phase 3 with the lowest reported number of cases since it started reporting numbers. Even so, interim president Tim Galligan told the LSU Board of Supervisors that there will be no changes in Phase 3, as “classes will stay as is and we will keep wearing masks, physical distancing, etc.”
“We’re monitoring. We’re monitoring. We’re monitoring,” Galligan said. “If we have to, we will make a U-turn and go back to remote learning. We don’t think we’ll have to. We don’t want to, but if we have to, we will do that.”
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