leon dixon

Leon Dixon blows out the candles on his birthday cake to mark his 103rd birthday.

Parish public, private schools taking a wait-and-watch stance

Masks will remain an option for Pointe Coupee Parish public schools, but the protocol has changed in the recommendation for the school year.

Public-school students will be “highly recommended” to wear masks whether they are vaccinated or not.

“The wording is ‘should’ and ‘highly recommended’ at this time, but it’s still not required,” said Kim Canezaro, Pointe Coupee Parish school superintendent. “But this is all subject to change – we still have two weeks before we start class.”

All visitors to school campuses must wear masks.

The mandates could change, based on new guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control or if Gov. John Bel Edwards reinstates mandates. Edwards is scheduled to discuss the latest COVID-19 spike during a statewide address Friday, tentatively set for 3 p.m.

Students return to school on Monday, Aug. 9. All students will be required to wear masks on school buses.

The current guidance calls for a distance of “at least three feet, but to the greater extent possible, six,” she said. “But even that guidance has been left open and subject to change.”

The CDC issued guidance Tuesday recommending indoor mask use in areas with high transmission rates.

State Education Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley announced Monday, July 26, that the Louisiana Department of Education would leave COVID-19 protocol to the discretion of each of the 69 school districts.

The latest guidance does not list changes in protocol for outdoor events such as high school football games and assemblies.

The guidance changed after recommendation from Gov. John Bel Edwards that all residents wear masks in indoor settings.

He made the recommendation after a spike in cases from the Delta variant of COVID-19.

The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge, which oversees Catholic-Pointe Coupee and other schools across geographical 11 parishes, announced two weeks ago that Bishop Michael Duca reversed the mandate that would have required all students to wear masks indoors.

The new directive follows similar wordage to the recommendation of the Louisiana Department of Education, on which the diocese bases much of its student protocol related to COVID-19.

False River Academy has not yet determined a protocol for the upcoming school year.

The fourth coronavirus surge has brought the state’s single-day new case totals to record numbers since the pandemic began in February 2020.

It also brought hospitalization totals to their highest counts since March 2020.