Beauregard Parish schools are moving forward with plans to reopen for traditional learning next month, as the district unveiled its plan in full after a recent public school board meeting.
Four-day schools in the parish are set to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year on Aug. 5, and five-day schools will reopen on Aug. 11, according to the district’s original school calendar approved by school board members earlier this year.
According to Superintendent Timothy Cooley, providing educational needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic will cause educators to approach traditional learning with some changes for students based upon guidelines provided by the Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Those changes will include restricting the number of people in each classroom to a limit of 25, fifty percent maximum capacity of school buses, and required face coverings for all students in third grade and above.
School officials detailed that students in grades Pre-K through sixth grade that are able to remain static – or remain together in a grouping that does not change during the day – will meet daily for school and remain separated throughout the school day for class, lunchroom and outdoor activities.
Seventh through twelfth grades will meet at 50 percent capacity on a rotating basis, Cooley said. Those students will be split into two groups, Group A or Group B, with one group attending school on Mondays and Wednesdays and the other on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Cooley said all schools that serve those grade levels are now working out schedules for students based on attendance numbers, familial relationships, bus routes and food service regulations.
“Parents and students will be notified of the schedules as soon as schools are able to finalize their plans,” Cooley stated.
Beauregard Parish families have also been provided virtual learning program opportunities as well, Cooley said, and those students will be utilizing a Google Classroom platform for their instruction.
As of Friday, Cooley told the American Press that the district has received around 1,100 requests for enrollment in the virtual program.
School buildings will also be undergoing continuous sanitizing measures throughout the school year. Cooley said safety measures consistent with the Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control guidelines including “enhanced hand sanitation measures” throughout the day, temperature checks upon arrival, and social distancing measures along with the required face coverings will be a part of the daily protocol at schools.
Cooley said schools will also provide traffic flow for entrances, exits, and in hallways to limit interactions. He added that all hightouch areas will be wiped down multiple times per day and enhanced cleaning procedures will be in place for all school facilities.
“We want parents, students and BPSB employees to know that we are working every day to reopen our schools safely in compliance with all guidelines while at the same time preparing for all eventualities that may exist during this time,” Cooley stated.
“We thank everyone for their cooperation, patience, and understanding as we navigate uncharted waters, and we want the public to know that we are making the best decisions possible with the current information available to provide our students with the options needed for their continued education.”