BATON ROUGE – On Thursday, Governor John Bel Edwards announced that Louisiana will move into Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan. State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley released the following statement in support of the Governor’s decision.
“We as an educational community are ready to move to Phase 3. We’ve been successful in Phase 2 in terms of mitigating the spread of the virus, and I think we will do well in Phase 3. It’s more important than ever that our schools continue to implement the safety procedures they have in place, as more students will soon return to campus.”
“Our system and school leaders are being thoughtful in how they transition to Phase 3, and what that looks like will vary across the state. I know our educators look forward to welcoming students back, but they also know this transition has to be done in a way that is mindful and maintains the progress Louisiana has made in pushing back this virus. I encourage system and school leaders to collaborate with their school families to ensure a successful transition.”
Dr. Brumley led a conference call for system and school leaders Thursday afternoon on what the shift means for schools and to answer questions. He was joined on the call by medical experts from the Louisiana Department of Health and Children’s Hospital New Orleans.
The Louisiana Department of Education released school reopening guidance in June that included guidelines based on various phases of reopening. The minimum health and safety standards passed by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) also included variations based on reopening phases. LDOE asked systems to develop reopening plans over the summer that included variations based on phases. Phase 3 requirements for school systems differ from Phase 2 in group size, transportation, as well as band, vocal and music limitations.
Maximum group sizes shift from 25 individuals in Phase 2 to 50 individuals in Phase 3. This is the maximum group size that may convene at any given time indoors in a single room, irrespective of room size, or outdoors. Individuals must continue to follow guidelines around face coverings and social distancing.
School buses can now allow 75 percent of the manufacturer’s capacity, compared to 50 percent in Phase 2. This capacity includes students and adults. Passengers must still be spaced throughout the bus to the greatest extent possible.
The shift to Phase 3 means band, vocal and music activities can resume indoors or outdoors. Appropriate physical distancing measures must be taken.
Based on the state’s minimum health and safety standards, if the local governing authority of a parish or other municipality has established a more restrictive phase of reopening, the school system located within that parish or municipality must follow the more restrictive requirements.