The Lafayette Parish School System is trying to assuage community concerns after Lafayette’s NAACP chapter claimed a district high school was lax on novel coronavirus protocols to benefit its football team.
LPSS district spokesperson Allison Dickerson issued a statement Friday evening denying the claim and said all COVID-19 protocols are prioritized to protect student and staff safety.
“The allegations have been investigated by school-level staff, as well as district-level staff. In addition LPSS has been in contact with LHSAA and the Louisiana Department of Health to confirm that all contact tracing protocols have been followed,” the statement said.
The statement came in response to an email from Lafayette NAACP President Marja Broussard to school board members and LPSS Superintendent Irma Trosclair relating allegations they’d received that Acadiana High School had broken COVID-19 requirements to maintain players’ eligibility for playoff games.
“It has been brought to our attention that Acadiana High School has football players that should currently be on quarantine due to direct exposure to coronavirus and/or possible positive test. The information we received indicates several players were exposed to multiple COVID-19 positive individuals just before the Thanksgiving break,” Broussard said in the email.
Broussard requested the school system launch an investigation and said the state NAACP president would also be launching an inquiry. She said football players at Lafayette High and Carencro High were also being “quarantined,” or separated from the general student population, while on campus, per parent reports, and questioned whether they were acting appropriately.
The NAACP president did not present evidence in the email or detail who brought the concerns forward to the organization. The school system, likewise, did not divulge specifics about how the allegation was investigated in their statement.
Per Louisiana Department of Health school COVID-19 recommendations, students exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual are required to quarantine for 14 days. The Louisiana High School Athletic Association, or LHSAA, issued rules this fall that bar athletes from participating in sports if they’ve been exposed to a positive case and haven’t completed their mandated quarantine period.
“We regret that such an allegation has been raised. LPSS takes all reports seriously and continues to follow guidance and protocols such as contact tracing to keep all students and staff safe during this time,” Dickerson’s statement said.
Acadiana High football coach Matt McCullough denied the allegations in a Friday phone call with an Acadiana Advocate reporter.
“It’s a lie. I’m not sure where this is coming from. We have followed every protocol given to us by the Lafayette Parish School Board and the Louisiana Board of Health, totally by the book,” McCullough said.
The Wreckin’ Rams won its playoff matchup against the East Ascension High School Spartans on Friday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 5A Championship. The Rams are the division’s defending champion.