What can Acadiana’s public and private school students expect when the new year starts?

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Correction: The communications manager for BESE issued the statement. He’s not the communications manager for the La Dept. of Education

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) When school begins in about week, students will have to mask up, at least indoors.

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) explains that school systems will need to comply with the governor’s mask requirement.

The communications manager for BESE issued a statement to KLFY News 10.     

“BESE (Board of Elementary and Secondary and Education) and the LDOE have set no requirements regarding masking for the 2021-22 school year; local school districts have the authority to develop COVID-19-related school facilities policies. However, the Governor’s latest statewide order requiring masks indoors would supersede any local district policy.”

“We’re non-profit and not covered under the state department of education as public schools would be,” Diocese of Lafayette Communications Director Blue Rolfes said.

Rolfes says Bishop Douglas Deshotel notified all school principals, chancery and diocese employees that the diocese is complying with the governor’s mask requirement.

According to the governor, face coverings are also highly encouraged for those ages 2 to 4 as tolerated.

“The fact that children under the age of 12 aren’t eligible to be vaccinated yet makes it even more of an important and serious situation,” Rolfes stated.

Rolfes explains the ultimate goal is about health and following the law.

“The bishop decided that the health of the students, principals, teachers, school staff and administrators is of the utmost importance. That is the ultimate goal. We have to keep everybody safe and healthy.”

In accordance with Governor John Bel Edwards’ statewide mask mandate and guidelines issued by the Louisiana Department of Health and the CDC, masks will be required in all Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lafayette as the fall semester begins.

Bishop Douglas Deshotel said:

“The Diocese is acutely aware of, and respectful of, the differences of opinion voiced by individuals and political leaders relating to the use of masks/face-coverings and corresponding government mandates. Parents and students are reminded that diocesan schools are private institutions that have the right to establish policies relating to the safety of their students, faculty, staff and administrators. The impetus behind this policy is safety and health and we are hopeful that all parents and students will comply regardless of their personal opinions and philosophies. “

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