BATON ROUGE — Facing questions and worries about Ebola, the state’s top school board has approved emergency rules that give local superintendents sweeping new authority to close public schools and send students home if they sense a threat.

Chas Roemer, president of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, said the panel took the action Wednesday as a precaution.

Under the new rules, a local superintendent can dismiss schools due to an emergency that now includes “any actual or imminent threat to public health or safety, which may result in loss of life, disease or injury.”

The Advocate reports superintendents can also remove a student or staff member if there is “reliable evidence or information” from a public health officer or physician that he or she has a communicable disease.

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