JENNINGS - The Jeff Davis Parish school officials are proceeding with plans to resume schools April 20 following spring break.
The board also announced plans Thursday to begin distributing free grab and go breakfasts and lunches to students on Monday.
"It is our sincerest wish that this pandemic phenomenon quickly dissipates, we resume school on April 20, and close the 2019-2020 school year with as much normalcy as possible for our students," Superintendent Kirk Credeur said Thursday.
Gov. John Bel Edwards closed all public schools last Friday until April 13. Jeff Davis Parish schools are scheduled for spring break April 10-17.
"When we return to school on April 20, we will take every advantage of making sure our students are exposed to the critical and essential skills necessary for mastering required academic grade expectations," Credeur said. "Classroom instructional time is very important and we will take full advantage of it when we return."
Graduations and other end-of-school traditions and co-curricular programs will continue. Some end-of-school activities including field trips and teacher professional development activities may be cancelled.
"In four or five weeks we will need to give nine weeks of instruction," he said.
The state has waived requirements for mandatory instructional minutes, district and school performance scores, early childhood performance profiles, teacher evaluations, end of course exams for graduating seniors and promotions for grades four and eight. A waiver for LEAP testing is pending.
The board is also proceeding with plans to make sure children don't go hungry during the school closures by providing breakfasts and lunches through April 9.
Beginning Monday, March 23, the district will distribute free grab and go breakfasts and lunches from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Elton High, Jennings High, Welsh Elementary and Lake Arthur Elementary schools for students ages 18 and under.
A food delivery truck will also transport meals to Union Baptist Church in Jennings. Additional sites are also being considered to extend the program.
"We are dedicated to making sure we are providing meals to these kids and we are excited and happy to be able to do that," Credeur said. "And we are going to do a good job of that and make the board proud."
Board member Jimmy Segura thanked those who have worked quickly yo implement the program.
"I know it's not easy, but I appreciate it," Segura said.
Students can walk, ride their bicycles or ride in a car with an adult to the sites. Students must be present to receive a meal but do not have to be from the community where they receive the meal.
"The challenge we are having right now is finding enough people who want to work it," Credeur said.
Salary supplements will be paid to employees helping operate the meal sites.
"The salary supplements are being offered as an incentive to get people to work," he said. "They are exposing themselves to a greater risk."
Non-paid volunteers will also assist with the feeding program, but must meet guidelines set by the board including wearing gloves and masks.
"I have to make sure they are fully aware that if they get exposed to something they are knowingly taking that risk and they understand they could be asked to have a family quarantined if there is a risk of exposure," Credeur.