The Calcasieu Parish School Board has issued a parent survey requesting feedback concerning the upcoming school year, technology availability and the possibility of an nontraditional schedule in light of COVID-19. The survey was intended to serve as a proactive measure to prepare for the upcoming school year, however, once released some confusion ensued regarding the district's intentions for the fall.
"We, like you, want nothing more than to return to school in the fall as normal," Holly Holland, spokeswoman for the district, said on CPSB's social media channels. "We are more than ready to welcome our students back to our classrooms, where they will certainly be greeted with lots of excitement from our faculty and staff."
The "fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic" requires the district develop multiple plans in approaching the next year. With questions regarding household's technology availability, internet access and their ideal preference if a nontraditional schedule were required, Karl Bruchhaus said the district's "first choice, without a doubt" is to return normally in August.
"But we understand that we may be in a phase of the COVID plan that would not possibly allow us to do that," he said, therefore contingency plans must be considered.
"Somebody would have to tell us we can't do it, though. We're not going to voluntarily not go back to school in regular fashion," he said.
If students can return normally, but some families are still uncomfortable, Bruchhaus said provisions will be made.
"We will have the ability to handle those students virtually if that's what they choose to do."
In reading about social distancing in education across the globe, he said drastic changes will have to be made if such mandates are in place. Transportation alone presents a problem as the district has calculated a socially distance bus only accommodates 12 students.
"There's certainly a lot of issues with all of that if we can't bring them all back at once."
Bruchhaus said it was his idea to add the survey's final question about a modified schedule due to COVID-19 restrictions.
"I can't wait back until August to develop those plans if a flare-up occurs," he said.
Survey data will be aggregated in two weeks for analysis. Results will be utilized to make plans and identify schools and families that will need additional technology should virtual learning become a reality again.
Families who have not received the emailed surveyed yet should email firstname.lastname@example.org to update their contact information.