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Leaders of the Louisiana branch of the NAACP have asked state education leaders for a meeting to air their concerns about public school operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Leaders of the state branch of the NAACP asked Louisiana education leaders Monday for a meeting to air their concerns about public school operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

The group made the request after a  session with "concerned education stakeholders across Louisiana school systems."

NAACP officials said community leaders "have noted a lack of consistency, as well as disproportionate adherence, specifically within the schools serving marginalized populations such as African Americans and low income."

"We have seen the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education give local school districts the right to gamble with the lives of students and educators across the state," according to a statement by the group.

"As this pandemic has become more deadly, local school districts have ramped up the return of students to schools."

BESE in July approved minimum safety standards for local school districts to follow to combat the coronavirus.

School systems can enact stricter rules.

State officials say 67% of the state's roughly 700,000 public school students are attending in-person classes.

The rest are relying on a combination of virtual and in-person classes or distance learning alone.

The NAACP also asked BESE to suspend testing for the rest of the school year, to allow districts to close schools when COVID-19 numbers exceed 10% of the district and to "engage" with officials to craft an "apolitical plan" for the opening of schools for the 2021-22 school year.

Neither BESE nor state school leaders could be reached for immediate comment.


Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.