The Beauregard Parish School Board intends to have students return to classes in-person this August, with minor adjustments to be made in response to current pandemic precautions, officials announced this week.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Timothy Cooley released the district’s plans for students, which included two other options should Gov. John Bel Edwards order closures or further social distancing requirements for schools across the state.

Cooley said the district will also be taking into consideration concerns from parents who may have fears about sending their children to school amid current conditions.

“Beauregard Parish is structuring our school opening to accommodate potential variations if circumstances change, as well as seek to include all students in varying situations. We will provide solutions for students whose families are concerned about returning to the school facility and for those who cannot return because of medical conditions,” Cooley said in his official release.

The current plan for the 2020-2021 school year will see students return to a traditional school setting with enhancements and online opportunities. Cooley outlined this plan as having school begin on time in August at school campuses, while also offering students Google Classroom and Beauregard Virtual Program options in the case of parental or health concerns.

Cooley said that schools throughout the parish will be “strictly” adhering to safety measures based upon medical evidence and advice from the Louisiana Department of Health. He defined those safety measures as including social distancing, enhanced sanitation and hand hygiene measures, wearing approved face coverings, and limiting campus activities and visitations.

As of Tuesday, the Louisiana Department of Education recommends that students in grades 3 and above wear approved face coverings, and Cooley said Beauregard schools will be following that recommendation.

“For the students beneath those grades, if they feel comfortable wearing a face covering we will certainly not discourage them from doing so, but those are the guidelines we will be following at all schools,” Cooley stated.

A second option for Beauregard schools will be what the school board titled a “hybrid option” that would include a combination of distance and face-to-face learning for all students with possible adjustments to scheduling students on campuses. Cooley said this plan would only be enacted in the case of an Executive Order from Gov. Edwards for reduced interaction in public settings.

The third and final consideration for students would be long-distance learning, similar to how the parish ended classes in May. This option would call for all students to participate in online learning through Google Classroom or the Beauregard Virtual Program. Cooley said this plan would only be put into action if Gov. Edwards closed schools statewide.

“Our Instructional Supervisors and teachers are working with our technology team to provide guidance for instruction and all its related components for each of the scenarios,” Cooley stated.

“I am confident that our school system and our employees will continue to provide excellence in education for every Beauregard Parish student.”

According to the school board approved 2020-2021 school calendar, students attending 5-day parish schools will report for their first day on Aug. 11. Students attending 4-day schools report Aug. 5.

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