Baton Rouge area schools taking extra precautions with rise in COVID-19 cases

Leaders confident schools can finish the semester without shutting down despite rising COVID-19 cases

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - COVID-19 cases continue to surge in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) reported 2,239 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, Nov. 18. Twenty-eight more people died as well.

Numbers also are on the rise in schools. The East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS) reported 48 new cases of COVID-19 among its students. That brings the yearly total to 196 since numbers have been collected.

“We’re just monitoring the cases and we’re seeing some uptick, but it’s not a spread type situation. It’s more of doing the contact tracing, making certain we have enough instructional coverage to make sure our kids are safe on campus,” said EBRPSS Interim Superintendent Adam Smith.

Currently, two EBR Parish schools have had to move back to virtual learning. Smith says there are no plans for a district-wide move at this time. There are also no plans on a state level for such a move. State Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley says that’s a decision for the individual districts to make.

“I certainly don’t think we’re at that point,” Dr. Brumley said. “We have plans in place where systems can add in additional restrictions, we have plans in place where systems can move virtual if need to, but that is not a conversation that is taking place at the state level.”

He says there’s a level of concern heading into the Thanksgiving break, but he believes schools will be able to finish out the semester.

“We know the efforts we’re taking in our systems are working,” he said. “We will continue to do that.”

In EBR Parish, that means doubling down on sanitizing and making sure everyone is following guidelines.

“Wearing a face mask in our schools, students who are required to wear them, and staying socially distanced to the extent possible, and washing your hands and staying home if you’re not feeling well,” Smith said.

Click here to report a typo.

Copyright 2020 WAFB. All rights reserved.