State of Education 2020; Superintendents speak on school reopenings in Ouachita Parish

Local News

OUACHITA PARISH, La (07/30/20) — COVID-19 continues to affect school reopenings across Northeast Louisiana.

“It’s been close to five months since students have been in school. And certainly there are challenges that are out there that we’re looking at,” said Dr. Don Coker, Superintendent of Ouachita Parish Schools.

Challenges like student safety, bus services, positive COVID-19 tests, and rules for social distancing. For the bus schedule, schools are planning on the state being in phase two when school starts; This means buses can be at 50% occupancy.

“So if the buses are holding 66 kids, we could put 32 kids plus the bus driver on it. Upon kids getting off at schools, we’re going to be cleaning buses between kids getting on and off each day,” said Coker.

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, a chart has been created by the Louisiana Department of Health.

“This is an amazing flow chart and it looked like a maze to us at first, and if I had known that we were prepared for it, it kind of gives us the scenarios from A, B, C, D,” said Coker.

“That document of situations right now is five pages of possible situations. After school the first school starts on day one that’ll go to like 15 pages,” said Dr. Cade Brumely, Louisiana State Superintendent.

To adhere to social distancing rules, Superintendents say each school has a different system to follow.

“I had each one of our building principals and administration that took their building and they’ve designed exactly how car drop-offs are gonna be, how student parking is gonna be and how bus drop off is gonna be,” said Dr. Brent Vidrine, Superintendent of Monroe City Schools.

While the first day of school is still a few weeks away, Superintendents in Northeast Louisiana are working hard to provide a safe environment for both in-person and virtual teaching.

“We’re willing to bring our students back and put them in this environment and we’re gonna teach the best way we can virtual,” said Vidrine.

“An excess of 4,500 students who have signed up for our virtual instruction program, we will be trying to accomodate as many of those as we possibly can,” said Coker.

State Superintendent Brumley wants parents to understand that guidelines are constantly changing and it’s important to be understanding with school procedures.

For more information on Louisiana’s plan for school reopenings throughout the state, click the link here.

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