Schools take aim to combat COVID-19

School is back in session face-to-face this year for about 5,500 students attending Lincoln Parish public schools, and the parish is working hard to ensure students and staff are safe.

Lisa Bastion, assistant superintendent and chief pandemic officer, said the schools have a variety of methods they are employing.

We are trying to do everything we can do,” Bastion said. “I can’t say we wont have a spread, but we’re trying hard to keep that from happening.”

As of Tuesday, Bastion said out of those 5,500 students, only 135 were absent for COVID-19 reasons.

“That doesn’t mean they all have COVID,” she said. “It also counts exposures to COVID.”

While students and staff members are asked to wear masks, as per Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ request, students are also doing their best to social distance and stay within their class or group of peers.

For lunch – that’s where we really have to pay attention,” Bastion said. “We don’t want kids to eat across from each other unless the students are within their pods. We really like them to be side by side, all facing the same direction to cut down on any air exposure they might get. Some schools are opting to eat in the classroom. Some schools are rotating who eats in the classroom or who eats in the lunchroom.”

Hand sanitizer is also being offered to students on a regular basis.

We are sanitizing, offering kids hand sanitizer all throughout the day,” Bastion said. “For the older students, as they walk in their classrooms, the hand sanitizer is at the entrance and they are expected to use it when they walk in the classroom.”

So far, though, Bastion said except for a handful of students, all students are face-to-face with school, and she said once the COVID-19 numbers start to go down in the parishes, she expects the governor to relax the mask mandate. 

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