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, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

Juban Parc Junior High recently canceled football games after members of the team were placed in quarantine because of recent positive cases of coronavirus at the school.

State figures show Livingston Parish schools with the highest rate of COVID-19 infections among districts in the Baton Rouge area. Delia Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Livingston system, acknowledged Friday that the cancelation of those games earlier this week is due to an increase in cases at the Denham Springs middle school over the past two weeks.

“Due to quarantines related to close-contact tracing, the football game between Juban Parc Junior High and Southside Junior High has been postponed,” Taylor said. “North Corbin Junior High has also postponed its football game because of contact tracing notifications.”

Taylor would not say how many new cases the middle school has seen of late or how many people are now having to go into quarantine as a result of being in close contact with people with the virus.

“Those affected students and faculty are exhibiting a combination of asymptomatic conditions and mild symptoms, as reported to our school officials,” Taylor said.

Quarantined students are doing virtual learning from home during the 14 days of their quarantine. Taylor said that, when Livingston schools have positive cases, the district sends a notification to close contacts as well as a separate "courtesy letter" informing parents.

Taylor said the uptick in cases has prompted the middle school to increase its “cleaning protocols” and conduct more testing of surfaces on campus. She also said school staff are helping students and their families do contact tracing on their own for those who have been in contact with people outside of school.

One of the first signs of trouble was a Facebook post Monday on the school’s website announcing the cancelation of three games — two this past week, and one on Monday — but there was no explanation as to why. Later in the week, the school announced that Juban Parc’s game against nearby Southside Junior High has been rescheduled for Nov. 19.

Livingston Parish has the highest COVID-19 case counts in schools of any parish in the metro Baton Rouge area, according to weekly counts published by the Louisiana Department of Health. The latest report, which covers the week of Oct. 19 to 25, showed the number of cases increasing to 155, 60 more than the week before.

Since the beginning of the school year, 5.2 out of every 1,000 school employees and staff in Livingston have contracted the virus — up from 3.2 per thousand a week earlier. The prevalence rate for the state is 2.7 cases out of every 1,000 staff and students, up from 2.1 a week earlier.


Email Charles Lussier at clussier@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.