Update on School Operations Guidelines

Dear Ascension Public Schools Families,

We look forward to connecting with your children starting next Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, whether for in-person learning or online learning. We first released our safety guidelines for operating schools for in-person learning on June 15, 2021. In those guidelines, we communicated that absent a mask mandate from state or federal officials, Ascension Public Schools and the Ascension Parish School Board would allow masks to be at the discretion of the individual based on advice from their personal healthcare provider. 

However, on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statewide mask mandate for Louisiana that requires businesses and organizations, including schools, to require the wearing of face coverings under certain conditions while indoors. We share the disappointment that current conditions have elevated COVID-19 cases in our state such that medical advisors and state leaders have expressed the need to implement a mask mandate for a period of time.

Please know, we are obligated to comply with these emergency orders and will be doing so for the period of time that is specified in Proclamation Number 137 JBE 2021, which is effective from Aug. 4, 2021, until Sept. 1, 2021. As such, we have updated the operations guidelines found on our website, www.apsb.org/2021-22, to include the details of this required mandate for schools, which covers the first 17 days of school for students. My prayers are for the health of our community, and it is my hope that this current surge in cases quickly lessens. If the cases go down to the degree that the governor lifts the mask mandate, we can return to our original plans to allow face coverings to be optional for our staff, students, and visitors. 
We respect anyone’s concerns, whether that is a concern for contracting COVID-19 or a concern about their child wearing a face covering. Please be reminded that we offer online learning through our Blended Learning Program (BLP), which has been successfully implemented in our district since 2013. For more information about BLP, please visit www.apsb.org/online. To apply for online learning, please contact your child's school. 
As always, we thank you for your partnership and look forward to our work in providing quality learning experiences for students in the weeks and months to come. Together, we can ensure children have the opportunity to achieve continued academic growth in preparation for the future of their choice. 

David Alexander
Ascension Public Schools