Vice President Pence visited Baton Rouge to meet with Louisiana and LSU officials to address the state’s current and future response to COVID-19.
“It’s exciting to be in Tiger Stadium, but it’s inspiring to be on a campus and in a state that is making plans," Vice President Pence said.
Most of these plans mentioned by Pence centered around the opening of Louisiana schools come fall.
“Louisiana is making plans to open K-12 schools on time," the vice president continued. "I know here at LSU and in the Southern system, they produced a road map on Friday of last week to bring students back."
“We can open our schools, we have to open our schools," Congressman Steve Scalise said. "It’s not a question of whether or not the schools will reopen, it’s how best to safely reopen."
And it's this 'how' that officials are trying to pinpoint.
"Our plan is to open as many schools K-12, higher education for in-person instruction on campus as we can safely do," Governor John Bel Edwards said. "The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education today is promulgating rules that will be disseminated down or guidance that will be disseminated down to the various school districts. We heard from higher education today. It’s going to be a combination of virtual and in-person instruction and it may be platooning. If you have a Tuesday/Thursday class, you may be in class on Tuesday and it may be virtual on Thursday and so on."
The future of nursing homes, which have been among those worst hit, was also evaluated. White House Coronavirus Task Force Member Seema Verma, along with Vice President Pence, announced a new plan to help ensure the elderly's safety.
"Today's announcement about providing point of care tests in every nursing home across the country is very significant. This is going to allow our nursing homes to test their workers on a weekly basis and also test their patients as well," said Verma.
Admiral Brett Giroir broke down the numbers of what this testing in nursing homes will look like.
"That means 4-5 million tests per month. As you know, the turnaround times because there’s so much testing is getting a little longer and it’s also very expensive. What we’re talking about today is providing a point of care. That means a rapid, on the spot, 20 tests per hour instrument along with tests to every single of the 15,400 nursing homes within this country," the Assistant Secretary for Health said.
Despite the variety of topics, one message was clear.
"Wash your hands, practice good hygiene, wear a mask," the vice president said.
"Make sure we wear the mask, that we social distance, that we limit our social gatherings in terms of the number of people. If we will do that, we will be successful," Governor Edwards said.
"It will take everyone in Louisiana, every single person in Louisiana to wear a mask," Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Birx said.
Pence's visit comes when an influx of positive cases has paused the state in phase 2.