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Masks recommended, not required: Bossier Parish Schools outline COVID-19 guidelines for reopening


BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Masks will be highly encouraged, but not mandated when school starts on August 12 in Bossier Parish.

“We do think that it’s prudent to wear masks indoors,” said Superintendent Mitch Downey, who outlined the district’s COVID-19 plans for reopening in a midday news conference on Wednesday. “But those will be a personal decision made by parents, not by the school system at this time.”

Downy noted that the CDC and Gov. John Bel Edwards have deferred to local educational agencies on whether to require masks indoors, “and we feel like we would get better cooperation from parents and students if they have a choice as opposed to us dictating that choice to them.

Masks will still be required on school buses under federal mandate. School buses will run at 100 percent capacity, Downey said.

Other highlights:

  • Instruction will be face-to-face, but the district will also continue to provide virtual learning options for grades 3-12.
  • Vaccination will not be required for staff or students, but those who are vaccinated and come into contact with those who have tested positive will not need to quarantine.
  • Transitions will be staggered, lunch will be grab-and-go, with an effort to socially distance students and let them eat outside when possible.
  • Like last year, there will be cleaning of high-touch touch areas on regular basis
  • There will be no temperature checks like there were last year but, as always, parents are warned not to send kids to school with a temperature
  • Water fountains will remain closed, students can bring a personal water bottle. No-touch filling stations have been purchased by individual schools.

View the Bossier Schools “Ready to Achieve” operating guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year here.

Most school districts around the ArkLaTex have generally followed state and federal guidelines in their COVID-19 reopening plans, but some of that guidance has changed since the CDC originally said vaccinated teachers and students don’t need to wear masks inside school buildings in early July. On Tuesday, July 27, the CDC adjusted that guidance to recommend masks be work indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling infection surges.

Bossier school district leaders on Wednesday also promoted a vaccination clinic that will be staffed by LSU Health on Friday and Saturday in the Airline High School parking lot facing Airline Drive:

Friday, August 6
4-7 p.m. 

Saturday, August 7 
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

This location will also serve as a drop-off for school supplies as part of the United Way Fill the Bus effort. 

The Caddo Parish school district was originally set to present plans for reopening to the school board on Tuesday, July 27, but pushed those plans back to the next meeting on Aug. 3.

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