The Beauregard Parish School Board approved a Declaration of Public Emergency on Thursday afternoon during an emergency meeting at the district’s central office.

The panel approved the resolution that will allow it to take the appropriate steps in seeking federal aid and approval from the State Department of Education in its response to Covid-19.

“This is a necessary step to take as we move forward in our response,” Superintendent Timothy Cooley told the American Press.

The resolution allows the district to continue to pay its teachers while schools are closed through April 13. If that closure is extended, Cooley told the American Press the pay for teachers would be expected to continue without further approval from the board.

The resolution also allows the district to seek federal reimbursement for those funds, as well as the funds used to provide free lunches to all students throughout the closures.

Beauregard Parish schools first began issuing the free lunches at six sites throughout the parish on Thursday, and Cooley said the lunches are expected to be offered next week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Cooley willl also have authority, through the resolution, to enter into any agreement or contract without approval from board members for the purchase of materials, equipment, supplies, or services for sanitation, cleaning, technology, and other services or supplies related to the coronavirus response.

While the school board now has the authority to adjust the school’s calendar, Cooley said the district is still awaiting a final decision from SDOE on the future of state testing for this school year.

As of Thursday, no decision had been released from the state.

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