Some parents say LDH not being transparent enough about COVID-19 cases in schools

Some parents claim LDH is not being transparent enough about the number of coronavirus cases in schools

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - As students transition back into the regular school schedule, parents are worrying about how the state is reporting COVID-19 cases at school

Everyone knows that the school year looks different this year due to COVID-19. On Wednesday, Sept. 30 the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reports that there are 823 total COVID-19 cases in grades K-12 in the state of Louisiana.

However, which schools are they coming from? Kristyn Starkovich, who is the market manager with Red Stick Mom, says, “I know we are seeing a lot of neighborhood pages. A lot of parents that are kind of hoping for a little more transparency with regards to whether it’s staff members or students who are testing positive or who are presumed positive.”

LDH is reporting on those who are faculty, staff, and students, but some parents don’t think it’s enough considering individual schools are not listed.

In the state of Florida, they provide a list of every single school in the state that shows how many students, teachers, faculty, and staff are positive for COVID-19. While the state of Louisiana does not list individual schools, instead all the schools are grouped by regions for COVID-19 cases.

“If we can report on school test scores and assessments then why can’t we talk and have full transparency about COVID-19 in active pandemic in our communities,” says one parent. This mother, who didn’t want to be identified, wants more specific information and hopes the state will make some changes.

LDH reached out to WAFB with a statement:

The Louisiana Department of Health, in consultation with the Louisiana Department of Education, developed an early warning system for COVID-19 in Louisiana schools. It’s designed to aid schools and public health officials in monitoring and mitigating the potential for school-based outbreaks.

The Department shares the data reported to it by schools and school districts in a statewide aggregate format that is updated every Wednesday. It is broken down by the State’s public health regions. For anything more granular, the public may reach out to their schools or local school districts.

We told those that we interviewed about LDH’s statement, and their response, “There is no reason why parents need to call around to their school districts to ask. We know that some school districts are holding onto this data because what they consider privacy issues which there are no privacy issues just because it’s not being attached to any individual names.”

The House of Education Committee met today to discuss health and welfare in the state of Louisiana, but no system changes have been made to Louisiana’s COVID-19 school case reporting.

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