Schools must report COVID-19 cases to LDH
Schools are now required to report known and suspected cases of COVID-19 to the Louisiana Department of Health as part of an “early warning system” under an emergency order issued by State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry.
“This system was created to aid schools and public health officials in monitoring and mitigating the potential for school-based outbreaks,” according to an overview of the school reporting system released by the LDH along with the order.
Public schools in Acadia Parish are scheduled to open Tuesday, Sept. 8.
All Pre-K through 12 Louisiana public, private, and charter schools will use a password-protected web portal to report and share data with the state health department on known and suspected positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff.
“Schools already share much of this information with LDH, though not in a systematic way,” the guidance reads. “This system will help streamline the process, minimizing reporting burden for schools and giving health officials the awareness to help quickly when needed.”
The LDH says the system was developed in consultation with the Louisiana Department of Education.
“Participating in this initiative will provide schools with guidance on what information to collect in the event of a COVID-related illness in their facility, and will also allow them to collect case information in one centralized location with the ultimate goal of keeping our students safe,” said Guidry.
“The information included in this system will be critical for school-based contact tracing and guiding schools in decision-making. Information reported in this system will also be available to public health officials, allowing for the ability to lend assistance where needed.”
Most schools in Louisiana have reopened within the past two weeks, with the final few set to open following the Labor Day weekend.
As of Aug. 19, there were more than two dozen cases connected to six outbreaks in the state’s primary and secondary schools. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases among unrelated individuals that have visited a site within a 14-day time period.
The Louisiana Department of Health does not have current outbreak information updated on the state’s coronavirus website.
Data on COVID-19 cases reported by schools under the new system is expected to be added to the LDH coronavirus dashboard by the end of the week.
According to the LDH, “protected health information related to students, faculty or staff — including name, date of birth and address — will not be shared with the LDOE under any circumstances.”