Southside High School will close for two weeks beginning Monday because a significant portion of the student body has come in close contact with individuals who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Lafayette Parish School System announced Sunday afternoon that Southside will immediately transition to virtual learning for all students through Nov. 30.

The Youngsville school will be closed to all students and the public, but staff will report to school to continue virtual education of students, according to a news release from LPSS. In addition, all extracurricular activities have been canceled until further notice.

The number of positive COVID-19 cases on campus remains low, according to LPSS, but the number of students quarantined because of close contact is now at about 11%.

Upon conducting the necessary contact tracing, a large number of Southside High students are currently in required quarantine. Health officials have determined students did not have an exposure to COVID-19 at school, according to LPSS; the exposures are attributed to community spread with activities outside of the school setting.

"Therefore, we implore our entire community to join us in helping slow the spread of this virus," LPSS said in a statement. "Especially with flu season beginning, mitigation measures outside the school day and on weekends are extremely important. We want to remind everyone to wear masks, limit large gatherings, and be proactive in social distancing."

More information for students will be provided by school administration.

Last week, several other schools in Acadiana announced they were shifting to all-virtual classes or canceling sporting events in response to an increase in coronavirus cases on school campuses.

In a video message Thursday, Vermilion Parish Superintendent Tommy Byler informed families that Erath High School will shift to full virtual learning through Nov. 20, the beginning of the district’s Thanksgiving break, and will cancel the school’s next two planned football games after an outbreak on the team.

Byler said Friday there were six cases among Erath students and a couple additional cases among adult staff members. Altogether, there are about 11 active student cases in the Vermilion Parish School District and six to seven adult cases, he said. Most of the community spread is being traced to Halloween and homecoming parties, as well as some spread from normal school activity.

Loreauville High School in Iberia Parish announced Wednesday students would shift to full virtual instruction through Nov. 20 because of COVID-19 cases. The school’s next two scheduled football games were also canceled, along with all other extracurricular activities, Superintendent Carey Laviolette said.

At Iota High School in Acadia Parish, the athletic boosters association posted a notice on their website that “due to a COVID situation beyond our control” the Nov. 6 game against Pine Prairie High and the Nov. 13 game against Northwest High were canceled.

Opelousas High School and Beau Chene High School in St. Landry Parish have also canceled their next two football games; one football player at Opelousas High tested positive and two players at Beau Chene High have tested positive, Superintendent Patrick Jenkins said Friday. Both teams are now quarantining.

St. Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette announced in a Thursday email to parents that students would shift to virtual learning through Nov. 20 after a rise in cases at the school. The message said nine students had tested positive, resulting in roughly 10% of the student body quarantining for possible close-contact exposure.

“For the safety of our STM community, we have made this decision in order to mitigate the virus and hopefully reduce the spread. We feel that one week of virtual learning and one week of the Thanksgiving holidays will minimize the number of cases on campus,” the email said.

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