A sign showing examples of 6-feet distances is pictured during a tour of Ossun Elementary School to show media and school board members the measures that have been put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 Tuesday, September 1, 2020, in the community of Ossun, La.

Nearly 500 additional COVID-19 cases were reported in state K-12 schools in the past week.

The number of reported cases rose from 823 to 1,316, which includes cases among both students and faculty, staff and volunteers. Students accounted for 343 of the newly reported cases and faculty for 150.

The numbers are self-reported to the Louisiana Department of Health and the Louisiana Department of Education through a joint reporting system. The reporting dashboard is updated each Wednesday.

Students accounted for 904 total cases and faculty, staff and volunteers 412 total cases, the dashboard said. The reporting system added 127 schools, bringing the total enrolled as of Wednesday to 1,340 statewide.

The case numbers represent cumulative reports and not all COVID-19 cases are necessarily active, LDH public information officer Sean Ellis said in a Sept. 24 call. Cases for schools are not currently broken out in active infection and recovered categories.

The health department’s Region 4, the seven-parish area covering Acadiana, reported 42 new cases — 27 more among students and 15 more among staff — bringing the total case counts to 118 and 50 cases, respectively.

Region 4 had the fourth highest number of cases in enrolled K-12 schools, behind Region 7 covering northwest Louisiana with 235 cases, Region 8 covering northeast Louisiana with 210 cases and Region 9 covering parishes north of Lake Pontchartrain with 182 cases.

Case numbers are currently not broken down into parish-level or school-level numbers.

The data is courtesy of a state-mandated school reporting system established by emergency order Sept. 1. Each K-12 school in the state is required to report confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases to the state health agency. Each school receives a password-protected account to submit their case information when they register for the reporting system.

The state database, while providing little breakdown, is one of the best looks at how COVID-19 is spreading in Louisiana schools. Each school system or stand-alone academy has taken its own approach to reporting COVID-19 cases to families.

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