• Start Strong Jefferson

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Face Mask & Quarantine Update: November 4, 2021

  • JP Schools Family,

    We’ve utilized the time since Governor Edwards announced his face mask update to analyze data, consult with medical professionals, and understand school-based concerns that may come from allowing the current mask mandate to expire. Jefferson Parish Schools is the largest school system in the state and one of the largest employers in the parish. We owe it to our 49,000 children and 6,400 employees to do our due diligence on any decision of this magnitude.

    Positive cases of COVID-19 among students and employees continue to decrease. For the week of August 15-21, we reported positive cases for 367 students and 45 employees. Last week, we reported 15 students and 3 employees. In addition, this week’s emergency approval of the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 means an added layer of protection is available for nearly all students and employees. The following updates will be effective Monday, November 8.

    • Face masks will be strongly encouraged, not mandated, for employees and students while indoors and in close proximity to others. This aligns with the option Governor Edwards and the Louisiana Department of Health announced for school systems last week.\
      • While no longer mandated, face masks are still strongly encouraged. All employees and students still have the choice to continue wearing a face mask.
      • Aside from certain instances where masks are still required, masking will be a personal decision made by employees, families, and students. The district and our schools will continue to maintain an environment that respects each of those individual choices.
    • Quarantine for close contacts who are not vaccinated will be 10-14 days. Close contacts who are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms are not required to quarantine. Close contacts who are vaccinated and have symptoms must quarantine for 10-14 days. This update continues to meet recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    There are some instances where masking will be required. These include:

    • All drivers and passengers on a school bus must continue to wear a face mask at all times per Presidential Executive Order No. 13998 for Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel.
    • Visitors who are nonessential or non-district employees also must continue to wear face masks.
    • Masks will still be required during indoor school events, such as dances, and indoor field trips. High school sporting events will continue to follow LHSAA guidelines.
    • Neck gaiters, mesh masks, bandanas, or handkerchiefs may not be used as a substitute for masks.

    Even with COVID numbers declining in Jefferson Parish, we still must remain vigilant in our efforts to push back the virus and maintain safe, in-person learning. We will continue to follow the layered mitigation efforts in Start Strong Jefferson. These proven strategies were developed alongside medical experts. Just like we’ve done since the start of the pandemic, we will continue to monitor our COVID-19 data alongside medical experts and make adjustments as necessary. As the virus and its presence in our schools shifts, so will our mitigation efforts. This could include tightening or loosening our face mask guidance.

    We are working to update our Start Strong Jefferson plan and will have that updated on our website at jpschools.org/startstrong soon.

    Today’s announcement is only possible thanks to the dedication of our employees, students, and families to follow our layered mitigation efforts. Together, we will continue to move our children, our schools, and our parish forward.

    Dr. James Gray
    Superintendent
    Jefferson Parish Schools

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