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)

The state Department of Education and state Department of Health have set up a system for the daily reporting of coronavirus cases in schools to pinpoint problems early, officials said Wednesday.

Under the setup, individual schools statewide will notify the state Department of Health of positive or suspected cases of COVID-19 -- the illness caused by the virus -- among students, faculty and staff.

School officials will first fill out registration forms, then use a password-protected portal to transmit the information.

The state Department of Education is assisting the public and private schools covered by the emergency order.

"We will be able to very early on see warning signals of problems should they arise and proactively be able to respond before it becomes an overwhelming concern," state Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley said.

"This will allow us to see patterns that will help us make decisions that are important, such as does a school stay open, does it need to close for a period of time."

"It is just an additional safety measure that I think is good for the overall public health and is good for us to be able to keep kids in school," Brumley said.

Most of Louisiana's 69 school districts are splitting their classes between in-person and distance learning.

While the state has shown improvements in recent weeks, it has long been one of the most infected states per person in the nation.

What information will be available to the public, including how individual schools and districts are faring, is unclear.


Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.