As the virtual school year draws near a close, the Calcasieu Parish School Board is looking ahead to its summer and fall plans in light of COVID-19.

In its weekly update, the district said it is finalizing plans for the Extended Day Summer Program. "It's been a hot topic and we've been inundated with questions about it because a lot of people depend on us for that care," Holly Holland, spokeswoman for the district, said.

Locations will be finalized next week for the program and they may look different than previous years due to additional staffing needs based on social distancing protocols, she said. So far, the district has determined that each site will include curbside pick up and drop off, temperature checks before children enter, students grouped in 10 or less, a mask if requested by parents and no field trips.

Virtual learning opportunities are also in the works for students in June and July. "Summer Learning Camps" will be offered in two-week sessions online and taught by CPSB teachers.

Holland said the camps will serve as "optional, educational boot camps" not to be confused with summer school. "These courses will provide an excellent opportunity for continuous learning, which is especially important with the effects of COVID-19 on our spring semester."

CPSB is currently working on plans for the 2020-2021 school year that include a variety of re-opening scenarios that the district must consider with so many unknowns surrounding the pandemic. Holland said the "most obvious, first choice" would include students returning in August with traditional face-to-face classes.

However, in accordance with the Louisiana Department of Education's "Strong Start" campaign, additional options being considered include staggered school days and a blended on-campus/online instruction format. The district will submit its plans to the State at the end of the month and continue to update the public in the coming weeks, Holland said.

Looking even further into the future, the district is encouraging families to complete the 2020 Census by visiting www.2020census.gov. Admittedly, Holland said the current social climate makes it easy to overlook the count, but accurate numbers helps ensure the public school system receives adequate funding.

"This is the chance for us to have a voice. We won't get this chance for another 10 years. It only takes a few minutes and it's a very simple form," she said.

Read the complete update at www.cpsb.org/coronavirus.

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