St. Jude the Apostle Catholic school will be closed Thursday and Friday because a "number" of administrators and one teacher tested positive for the coronavirus or are in quarantine, Diocese of Baton Rouge spokesperson Dan Borne said Thursday morning.

Borne said there are no indications that any of the roughly 550 students who attend the school contracted the virus.

The closing marks the first of its kind among schools in the diocese.

Between Aug. 3 and Nov. 15 less than 1% of the 14,107 students in the diocese and 3.4% of the staff contracted the virus, according to a statement from the diocese.

Only 2.5% of students are relying on virtual learning.

"Catholic high schools have experienced more infection than elementary schools, especially following LHSAA's resuming of sports," Melanie B. Palmisano, superintendent of schools, said in a statement.

The LHSAA is the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.

Under rules of the diocese, when a students tests positive for COVID-19 -- the illness caused by the virus -- the school works with parents to identify possible close contacts, which is defined as spending at least 15 minutes within six feet of each other during a 24-hour period.

Students and staff determined to have been in close contact with an infected individual within 48 hours of a positive test or the onset of symptoms are quarantined for 14 days and can work from home.

Borne said students were already scheduled to be out of school next week for Thanksgiving and are set to return on Nov. 30.

He said the two days will made up on the Thursday and Friday of Mard Gras week.

State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley said Thursday morning that a total of 3,500 students have tested positive for the virus among 800,000 mostly public school students.

State Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley said Thursday about 3,500 of 800,000 students statewide have tested positive for the coronavirus.   

Brumley said 1,600 school employees have tested positive.

He said that, despite speculation to the contrary, state leaders have no plans to close public schools after Thanksgiving and rely solely on distance learning.

"Right now that is not a conversation we are having anywhere at the state level," Brumley said.

Nearly half of public school students are attending in-person classes with the rest either relying on virtual education or a combination of in-person and distance learning.

The superintendent made his comments during a meeting of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.

Check back with The Advocate for more details.


Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.