Note: Recipient-submitted material; content authored by recipient, not ELC
Information current as of October 6, 2021

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To learn more about Louisiana’s school testing plans, visit their websiteexternal icon or contact their school-based screening testing program.

Management structure for school screening

Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) directs and manages all activities related to this award. LDH coordinates with Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) to help communicate opportunities associated with this award, all the guidelines, and policies associated with this program. LDH supports the program by providing clear, concise messaging to school districts, schools, parents, etc. via materials created through a communication firm. The firm has created a social media campaign and an online marketing campaign to increase participation and support for the program. LDH also drives and manages a participant incentive program that provides funds monthly to routine participants through a virtual and physical payment managed by a vendor.

Support provided to school districts

LDH and LDOE led a very effective campaign to keep schools open during the pandemic by creating covid mitigation trainings and guidance. Currently, this partnership provides multiple points of entry for school leadership and school districts to find information on how to create a layered mitigation strategy via websites, webinars, newsletters, email campaigns, news articles, etc.

LDH created and designed the Safer, Smarter Schools campaign, designed to promote routine weekly testing through the ELC Reopening Schools. The menu of COVID-19 testing options is based on CDC guidance and the experience of COVID-19 testing in Louisiana in the 2020-2021 school year. The Governor of Louisiana implemented a mask mandate and the LDOE followed suit by implementing a mask mandate in all schools as one primary mitigation strategy. LDH provides information to schools on how to follow social distancing, quarantine, and isolation guidance.

Protective measures in school settings include:

  • Social distancing, achieved by establishing and, for the maximum number of days possible, maintaining small groups of individuals that minimally interact with other groups or individuals, including in shared indoor spaces.
  • Correct use of masks.
  • Handwashing and respiratory etiquette.
  • Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine guidance.
  • A menu of COVID-19 testing options:
    • A school-run COVID-19 testing program designed to utilize molecular rapid testing to routinely screen asymptomatic students and when necessary, symptomatic students.
    • A LDH testing vendor contracted with local Louisiana-based labs to provide pooled PCR testing with a mandatory 24-hour turnaround time. Most K-12 schools have utilized this option. The Louisiana percent positivity is so high due to community transmission that it has been more effective for turnaround time to provide individual PCR testing.