Students in St. Landry Parish public schools began classes this week with the option of wearing face coverings following a decision by District School Board members.
School officials had discussed the issue of mandating the use of facemasks since the start of the second semester, but were deterred from lifting the decision of ordering any optional removal of the face coverings until parish wide positivity rates significantly declined.
Sylvia Guidry-Brown, head nurse for the District, told board members at a monthly meeting last Thursday that rate of positivity in St, Landry had declined at that to 1.7 percent.
COVID testing at school sites Guidry said, revealed positivity rates lower than the overall parish percentage recorded last week.
According to the covidactnow.org website which published COVID information for St. Landry on Monday, the parish positivity rate is currently 1.5 percent. Information on the website also indicates that 47 percent of parish residents have had at least one COVID vaccination.
During a February Executive Committee meeting, Superintendent Patrick Jenkins said he would recommend making facemasks optional when the parish positivity reached five percent.
During Board meetings in January, parents of several students complained that the District’s COVID student and employee policy regarding quarantining was too strict.
Several of the parents who spoke at the same meeting said their children were missing too many instructional days because of quarantining.
Jenkins said at the February meeting that if a student tested positive for COVID, the student would be sent home until further testing for that individual showed no symptoms.
The other students could elect to remain in the class if they were not showing any positive COVID symptoms, said Jenkins.