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COVID absences grow in second week of school

Friday, September 3, 2021
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On Tuesday, the ninth day of school for Lincoln Parish, 135 students across the public school district were absent because of either a positive case of COVID-19 or exposure to a case.

The district reports 51 students were out with a positive case, while another 84 had been deemed a close contact to someone else with the virus.

The 135 COVID-related absences equals 2.4% of the school system’s student population and is an increase from the 84 such absences reported a week earlier on Aug. 24.

Students out with a positive case rose from 30 on Aug. 24 to 41 on Aug. 27 and then to 51 on Tuesday.

That doesn’t mean exactly 10 students tested positive between the 27th and Tuesday, as some of the previous cases from the start of school could have finished their 10-day isolation period and returned to class in that time.

Chief Pandemic Officer Lisa Bastion said contact tracing efforts continue to indicate that students who test positive are coming into contact with the virus from sources outside of the classroom, such as adults at home.

A total of eight employees across the district were out with positive cases on Tuesday, as well as two with exposures. Five of those positive cases were certified teachers, while three were uncertified staff.

The largest COVID absence count on Tuesday in any one school was 24 at Ruston High School, which also has the largest student population. The largest count on any of the three reporting days thus far in the new school year was Simsboro School with 34 students out on Aug. 27.

Glen View Elementary saw the most students out with a positive case of COVID-19 on Tuesday with nine.

Students age 5 and up have been required to wear a mask while inside school buildings this fall in accordance with Louisiana’s latest mask mandate, which Gov. John Bel Edwards extended last week, as it was set to expire Wednesday.