Teachers question how classrooms will be sanitized

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The Lafayette Parish School System continues to evolve its plan to safely reopen schools, and although much progress has been made, parents and teachers still have some concerns.

Questions on masks, temperature checks, and sanitation were asked over and over again in a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Most had satisfying answers admit teachers, but some of the responses were worrisome, especially those surrounding the disinfectant Halt.

It is the cleaning supply that will be inside every Lafayette Parish classroom or rather a diffused version of its concentrated original which relieved a concern of many teachers according to Julia Reed, the president of Lafayette’s Association of Educators.

“It’s nice to hear that the disinfectant is not as dangerous as people thought, but it’s still concerning that desks will only be cleaned between classes and not disinfected,” said Reed.

According to the manufacturer of Halt, Spartan, surfaces require 10 minutes to disinfect surfaces, but teachers will only have 5 minutes between classes.

The LPSS Director of Planning and Facilities Kyle Bordelon claimed The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education does not require full disinfection between class periods.

“Students desks would be cleaned. It did not say sanitize,” stated Bordelon. “It did not say disinfect. It said cleaned.”

Reed did not like the implications of that statement.

She said, “The way I’m thinking about it is when you’re cooking at home and you’re using raw chicken, you don’t just wipe with a paper towel. That’s cleaning. You spray with the Clorox spray or whatever you’re using at home and you disinfect the area.”

The school board shared some schools will be alternating desks only using half or a third available in a room each hour to provide the 10 minutes.

However, another concern with Halt came from teacher Michelle Broussard who went to the hospital after an allergic reaction to the cleaner.

Broussard asked why other cleaners like Clorox were not purchased since they have at times a 2 minute kill time for COVID-19.

“If it’s good enough for the medical professionals, why isn’t it good enough for us?” she asked.

Bordelon suggested Halt is “readily available” and “very economical”. He added, “For the number of schools that we have to put this out at, we felt that this was the right product to use.”

The school board addressed additional concerns sharing teachers in grades below third grade can require masks at their discretion inside the classroom, and temperatures will be checked twice a day.

The district is also attempting to partner with a local hospital to provide daily testing availability for teachers.

It’s clear the Lafayette Parish School System’s plan reopening plan can adapt as the first day of school approaches, and the school board just asks for patience.

We’re trying the very best we can to put together the perfect situation,” stated District 3 Board Member Elroy Broussard. “This is uncharted waters, and the only way we find out if we’re doing it right is if we put our plan in place.”

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