Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Schools Closed

Spike in COVID, other illnesses sparks shutdown
Thursday, January 13, 2022
Article Image Alt Text

Graphic courtesy of the Lincoln Parish School District
Right are Wednesday’s counts of students at each Lincoln Parish public school who were absent because of COVID-19 cases or exposures. It was the highest COVID-related absentee count so far this school year.

A surge of COVID-19 and other illnesses among students and staff is forcing the Lincoln Parish School District to close all schools today and Friday.

Schools are slated to reopen Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

District administration announced the move Wednesday morning after recording a 23% student absentee rate across the parish, as well as an uptick in teacher absences that’s overflowing the district’s substitute capacity.

“Yesterday we only had five or six teachers that we knew would be absent today,” Assistant Superintendent John Young said. “This morning we shot up to 20, and that’s the number unfilled by substitutes.”

A total of 1,216 students across the district were absent Tuesday for any reason. On Wednesday, 431 COVIDrelated absences alone were recorded, a record high for the parish, in addition to 16 teachers and 11 support staff.

Young said athletics coaches have been running morning bus routes to replace ill drivers over the past few days, and teachers have used their planning periods to cover for each other, but the absentee rate was too great to sustain.

“It’s not just COVID,” he said. “We’ve seen upticks of the flu, stomach bugs, a myriad of issues mixed in with COVID.”

There will be no virtual learning or meal provision during the two-day closure. The current grading period will be extended two school days, now ending on Jan. 19 with report cards going home Jan. 24.

Elementary and middle school sports will be suspended for the time being, but Young said high school varsity sports will be allowed to continue due to the difficulty culty of rescheduling district games.

On Wednesday, 165 students had either tested positive for COVID-19 or were symptomatic and awaiting test results or unable to be tested. The other 266 were in quarantine because of close exposure to a positive case.

All campuses and buses received a deep cleaning Wednesday night and will be empty until Tuesday.

We’re asking that our employees and students take precautions (during the closure and weekend),” Young said. “We don’t want to get back on Tuesday and be in a worse spot than we’re in now.”

The private Cedar Creek School in Ruston, meanwhile, reopened on Wednesday after closing due to COVID absences on Monday and Tuesday.

Grambling’s Lincoln Preparatory School is in its second week of virtual learning after shutting in-person instruction following the holiday break, also due to COVID.