NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - With one of the highest rates of COVID in the state, Terrebonne Parish Superintendent Philip Martin decided to push back the start of school until after Labor Day.
“Our number one concern is a safe return to school for our kids and our employees,” says Martin.
To make up those day, Martin says they’ll lengthen school days and the school year will be extended.
Like many other school districts, Terrebonne parents will have a choice of sending their kids back to school buildings or have them learn virtually, but that decision has to be made by Friday. Also virtual learning will have to continue for at least nine weeks into the school year.
“We’re asking parents for at least nine weeks, and we’re all hoping that once we’re into the nine weeks, it’s no longer necessary,” says Martin.
Martin says the Terrebonne School District is going beyond the state guidelines to keep students and employees safe in school buildings.
“To follow the guidelines, you have to have 25 people in the classroom, including the teacher, but we will have a significantly lower number than that in every classroom. We are also providing for our lower grades K through 3 plexi-glass partitions at the reading stations. That’s not a requirement. It’s just some things we are going above and beyond out of an abundance of caution,” says Martin.
Meanwhile, the Lafourche Parish Superintendent Jarod Martin says all students will begin the school year learning virtually.
“That means that all of our students enrolled in the Lafourche Parish system will be given a chrome book, and if required, wifi to access the internet,” says Jarod Martin.
Martin says virtual learning will continue from August 10th through August 24th, and at that point, students will begin returning to school buildings.
“This will be done on an A/B model where students are broken up into two groups, half of which will go to school on either Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday and both groups will alternate on Friday,” says Martin.
With the hybrid model, students will learn virtually on days they won’t be in school.
For both districts, transportation is the biggest concern. Right now, buses can only be at 50 percent capacity. The Superintendents say while bus routes shouldn’t change dramatically, there could be some differences that will have to be worked out.