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RPSB votes to opt out of mask mandate

Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 4:10 PM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2021 at 5:47 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Rapides Parish School Board has decided to opt-out of the mask mandate, but to do that, they have to make a few changes.

With the passed motion, the RPSB will opt out of mandatory masking, reinstate some CDC protocols, while still keeping the Parental Choice option on quarantine matters with a restriction. Any students identified as a close contact of a confirmed positive can choose to come back to school, but must wear a mask for ten days.

The motion was offered as a substitute to the original motion to discuss and take action on the governor’s recent executive order concerning masks.

Governor John Bel Edwards lifted the mask mandate on October 26 with the exception of K thru 12 schools, but giving schools the option to opt-out of the mandate if they had proper CDC quarantine guidelines in place. Just a week before the governor’s announcement, the RPSB adopted the parent choice quarantine option, which does not fall into those guidelines.

“There were three options on the table tonight that the board had. One, to keep things the way they’ve been: wearing masks and parent choice on the quarantine. Go strictly with what the Governor released, which is to go back to quarantining and all the other CDC guidelines, but be able to opt-out of masks. Or a hybrid that includes Parent Choice, really with wearing the masks and quarantining. However, if you choose to still come to school when you’ve been identified as a close contact, we did put the caveat in there, that is consistent with CDC recommendations, of having the mask on.”

Jeff Powell, Superintendent of Rapides Parish Schools

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