Masked students return to school in St. Bernard, St. Tammany parishes

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 9:08 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - It’s back to school for students in St. Bernard and St. Tammany parishes, and it’s back to masking up. While leaders are excited about in-person learning, some parents aren’t happy with the COVID safety measures in place and made it known at last night’s St. Tammany Parish School Board meeting.

“The mask mandate you’ve chosen to honor is a danger to my children’s mental, emotional health and I will not stand by while my children are abused emotionally or mentally,” said one gentleman.

“I don’t think that this is ok. I believe in somebody’s right to choose for themselves,” said a woman on the verge of tears.

“Stop the mask mandates. This is just a suggestion. It is not a law,” said another mother to the board.

St. Tammany Parish Superintendent of Schools Frank Jabbia said he understands their frustrations, but said this is the rule to keep everyone safe.

“We have a large group of passionate people. You can’t fault them for loving their children you know. I love their children too. But when it comes down to it, I have to protect all the children. I have to protect all the employees,” he said.

By honoring the Governor’s mask mandate, Jabbia said he is doing his due diligence. Despite Thursday night’s school board meeting, he said the first day of school went well and with no known reports of any students testing positive for COVID-19.

“I’m not gonna say we didn’t have a couple situations across the district, but hands down overall every administrator we talked to has said it was a very smooth day,” said Jabbia.

In St. Bernard Parish, students and teachers also went back to class. Lexi Pritchard, community relations for the school system, called it a good day.

“A lot of parents dropping of their kids today and they want to make sure their kids are safe and so as a mom myself, I am happy to send my kids with a mask because I know they are going to be safe at school,” said Pritchard.

She said several students were not able to start school today due to testing positive for COVID-19. Pritchard said those students tested prior to the start of school and did not enter the school buildings.

Both school districts have protocols in place should a student show COVID symptoms in the classroom or test positive for the virus.

To view St. Bernard Parish’s guidance, click here.

To view St. Tammany Parish’s guidance, click here.

For Orleans Parish and NOLA Public Schools, click here.

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