desk stock file photo school

During a tour of the West Jefferson High School with coronavirus precautions it can be seen that each desk in the classroom has a grey or red sticker on the top corner in Harvey, La. Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Each period, students will be asked to alternate their use of desks and to clean them off after each class. The school is scheduled to open on August 26. (Photo by Max Becherer,, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

Park Elementary in Baton Rouge is sending its 270-plus kids home next week after learning of "multiple, positive COVID-19 cases impacting students and staff at various grade levels."

The East Baton Rouge Parish school system announced the closure Friday afternoon and that the shift began with part of the school Friday morning. It's the first such school closure due to coronavirus for the school system since East Baton Rouge school reopened for in-person instruction in early September.

The decision comes three days after Zachary High School made the same decision, facing its own uptick in cases.

Taylor Gast, a spokeswoman for the school system, said the "difficult decision."

Gast said that three individuals at the school reported testing positive. At first the school, starting Friday morning, had three grade level move to virtual only, but "after further contact tracing they decided to go ahead and quarantine the whole school out of an abundance of caution.

Students at Park Elementary won't return to in-person instruction until Monday, Nov. 30, after the week-long Thanksgiving break. Over the next two weeks, the building will be closed to the public for cleaning.

Gast said contact tracing continues, and close contacts of those testing positive are being notified.

"Our thoughts are with the impacted students, staff and their families," Gast said. "We understand the challenge that this may pose for some of our families. We appreciate their understanding, compassion and support as our community continues to respond to this pandemic."

Park Elementary, located at 2680 Bogan Walk, was torn down and rebuilt in 2019 at a cost of more than $20 million.

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