Mask mandate could be up to school districts after BESE vote today

Louisiana

Michael Johnson

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is meeting today to vote on the highly debated mask mandate in schools. 

Attorney General, Jeff Landry, released guidance on combating the mask mandate by Governor John Bel Edwards, citing a Louisiana law or religious exemption. In that release were two forms that could allegedly be used to get around mask mandates. 

Many parents across the state shared Landry’s guidance on social media, some even attempting to send their kids to school without masks. Central School’s Superintendent, Jason Fountain, stood by the mask mandate and denied entry to students not wearing masks. 

The topic was brought up in the House Health and Wellness Committee meeting on Monday, where several people not wearing masks disrupted the meeting and had to be forcibly removed. At that meeting, State Health Officer, Dr. Joseph Kanter, said, “We are seeing more kids getting sick with Delta right now than we have before. We are seeing more admission of pediatric age groups to hospitals.” He added that a typical school year could not happen right now with the current surge of COVID cases. 

Landry says BESE has the power to hand over the decision to enforce mask-wearing to the individual school districts. That will be put to a vote when BESE meets today at 9 AM at the Claiborne Building, located at 1201 North Third St.

You can view the BESE meeting here, and the full meeting agenda can be found here.

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