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EBR Schools will require staff to show status of vaccination, get tested weekly for COVID-19

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 7:53 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board has voted to require staff to show their status of vaccination and get tested weekly for COVID-19. The requirements are subject to any exceptions recognized by the law.

The motion that passed says: ‘A substitute motion authorizing the Superintendent to implement a plan requiring that all East Baton Rouge Parish School System employees show status of vaccination for Covid-19 and submit to weekly Covid-19 testing subject to any exceptions recognized by the law. (Dr. Narcisse)’

Board members voted 5-3 to institute the requirements.

  • Mark Bellue, District 1: Yea
  • Tramelle Howard, District 3: Yea
  • Dawn Collins, District 4: Yea
  • Evelyn Ware-Jackson, District 5: Nay
  • Jill Dyason, District 6: Nay
  • Michael Gaudet, District 7: Yea
  • Connie Bernard, District 8: Nay
  • David Tatman, District 9: Yea

“We are not mandating vaccines, but we are mandating is for weekday testing,” said Dr. Sito Narcisse, EBR Schools Superintendent.

Around 6000 employees work for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.

“It’s about working to keep our faculty, staff and students safe. And trying to make sure we can mitigate against the Delta Variant,” said Narcisse.

The school system is partnering with Orion Labs to get the rapid tests into the schools.

A spokesperson with the school system says the tests should just take minutes, and the goal is to have minimal disruption to the workday.

The drama of the vote, really came from members of the school board.

Some had different opinions on the new rule, and wanted to make sure the board does not get sued in the future.

That’s why they pushed to include the line in the motion which reads, ‘Subject to any exceptions recognized by law.’

“But I am not going to support mandatory anything,” said Connie Bernard, EBR Parish school board member.

“Are they just going to be standing in line to get this every week, and on who’s time,” said Jill Dyason, EBR Parish school board member.

“Unless there’s a medical reason where you can’t put a swab up your nose, you shouldn’t be exempt from it,” said Tramelle Howard, EBR Parish school board member.

“This is not something that’s a joke. It is something that is serious. We need to protect our children,” said Michael Gaudet, EBR Parish school board member.

While this isn’t a mandate, it does bring up the question if other districts are considering making their staff get the shot.

The superintendents in Livingston, Ascension, West Baton Rouge, Pointe Coupee, Ascension and Iberville told WAFB’s Lester Duhe’, they are NOT.

“Mandatory vaccination is alright too, but we realize that people have religious beliefs and some medical issues where they can’t. So, I think this is a good start right now,” said Angela Reams-Brown, EBR Federation of Teachers.

The school system is asking for that status of vaccination forms by mid-September.

REOPENING PLAN AND COVID-19 GUIDANCE

This is a developing story. There will be a full report on 9News at 10.

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