About a third of Louisiana K-12 schools still test for COVID-19

Health department ‘closely monitoring’ for signs of next surge

By: - April 2, 2022 10:45 am
doctor examines child

About 600 of the nearly 1,900 Louisiana K-12 schools take part in the state’s free COVID-19 testing program,

While the Louisiana Department of Health recommends that elementary, middle and high schools continue to regularly test their students for COVID-19, only about a third still do.

About 600 of the nearly 1,900 Louisiana K-12 schools take part in the state’s free COVID-19 testing program, Kevin Litten with the health department said.

Dr. Susan Hassig, an epidemiologist at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, recommends all schools continue COVID-19 testing for students and school employees so they can stay ahead of the next potential surge, 

“The relaxation that has been occurring over the last couple of weeks is frankly understandable,” Hassig said. “But I do think that we need to be ready to move back to a different posture when we have any indication that things are changing locally”

In Louisiana, masks are no longer required in public schools, but the health department still recommends quarantine policies for COVID-19 positive students, teachers and staff as well physical distancing.

A subvariant of the omicron strain has caused a new wave of COVID-19 infections in Europe and is responsible for about 55% of new cases in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

We are closely watching indicators for signs of another surge that could emerge from a new and more transmissible variant,” Litten said. “Schools have been provided with a wide array of prevention and mitigation strategies.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards, who let a COVID-19 emergency proclamation expire last month after two years, is “closely monitoring the BA.2 Omicron variant” and “will not hesitate” to reinstate the proclamation if it becomes necessary, spokesperson Shauna Sanford said.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is an award-winning journalist at The Louisiana Illuminator. Canicosa has previous experience at Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.