MANSFIELD, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — DeSoto Parish Schools began classes on Wednesday, August 4, and some students are already being sent home to quarantine, after potential COVID-19 exposure.
However, parents claim they did not receive the quarantine notice until days after the exposure.
“Why would you wait all day to call me and notify me and let her stay at the schoolhouse around all the people, all the children, and if she had it?” said Cassandra, a concerned Mansfield parent.
“The first thing [my daughter] thought when they told her she’s positive for COVID, ‘Momma I’m gonna die.’ She’s only 12. Imaya, it’s time for you to go back to school. ‘Momma I don’t wanna go back to school.'” said Mansfield mother, Erica Pegues.
Parents are urging the school board to consider permanent virtual options, especially for families who have other young children.
“We’ll keep our kids at home to protect them. So if they don’t step up and do the right thing, then we’ll have to do it,” said Delores, guardian of a Mansfield student.
“The only thing they’re telling us as parents if is your kid doesn’t come to school, they will be sent to truancy court. You can’t send the entire DeSoto Parish to truancy court,” said Pegues.
Parents are calling on the school board to listen to the voters who elected them.
“We voted for you because you showed compassion and we believed in you. Please don’t let us down,” said Keshia Carhee.
“These parents put you in a position to protect our children and to provide, you know, a safe learning environment. Right now, we just don’t have that. And if you cannot do that, I think that you should step down and allow someone else to take a stance who really believes that our children deserve to be protected in the school systems.”
In a statement to NBC 6, DeSoto Parish Schools Superintendent Clay Corley says:
“We continue to closely monitor our numbers of COVID positive and close contact cases among our students and staff. While we have seen an uptick in the numbers of positive cases among students this school year, our numbers are down this week in comparison to our first two weeks of school. We realize that COVID still exists in our communities and understand that our staff and students are not immune from exposure while they are away from school. Much like last school year, our mitigation efforts are proving to be successful in preventing any community spread within our schools.”
“In light of many of our students’ struggles last year with virtual-only instruction, our district has committed to and worked extremely hard to safely bring all students back face to face this year. Virtual-only instruction is available to students who are immunocompromised or have other health-related matters. Additionally, students who are sent home due to quarantine for close contact or positive cases are able to continue their learning through our virtual platform.”
“We remain committed to offering a safe, healthy, and engaging, face-to-face learning experience for our students. Should our ability to do so become compromised, we will remain flexible and ready to respond in the best interest of our students.”