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Caddo and Bossier districts respond to governor’s lifting of mask mandate

Education

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — The end of the school year for Louisiana students means the end of mask mandates in classrooms.

“Beginning with the summer programs for this year, each school district will set their own mask policies,” Gov. John Bel Edwards announced in a Tuesday news conference

The proclamation comes after Edwards announced almost 8,600 12 to 15 year-olds have received the COVID-19 vaccination over the past few weeks.

“I joined one of our BESE colleagues in asking or directing Superintendent Brumley to go to the governor talk to him about lifting the mask mandate,” said Michael Melerine, representing District 4 for Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Like individual businesses across the state, schools can choose how to move forward with guidelines.

“The governor, I believe, should not have the regulation or the ability to regulate a mask mandate for schools,” Melerine said.

“Because what’s best for Bossier Parish may not be what’s best for Vernon Parish, or Orleans Parish or Ouachita Parish. Each individual school district knows what’s best for their student and for their teachers, and I think that decision needs to be left up to the local level.”

Wednesday Caddo Parish Public Schools released a statement to NBC 6 saying:

In accordance with Governor Edwards’ latest announcement, mask mandate requirements remain in place through the current semester for all school systems. For Caddo Schools that semester ends Friday, May 28. Caddo Schools is currently reviewing all guidelines and requirements in alignment with the CDC, Louisiana Department of Health and Louisiana Department of Education. The district will provide updated guidance to staff and families as soon as more information is available.

Bossier Parish Schools tells us:

For now, we are staying the course. The Governor’s order says school systems may end the mask mandate at the end of the current semester, which is tomorrow for Bossier Schools. As for what summer learning looks like and the 2021-22 school year, those discussions are currently underway pending CDC guidance. 

“My hope is that schools can return to normalcy,” Melerine said.

“I think lifting the mask mandate at a statewide level and leaving it up to each individual school district gets us further down that road to return to normalcy in the fall.”

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