The Vernon Parish School Board announced Monday it will be delaying the start of this year’s school year after noting a rise in local COVID-19 cases.

According to a memo released by Superintendent James Williams, the increase in local cases coupled with the additional preparation required of school campuses to prepare for the 2020-2021 school year caused the school board to make the decision to delay the start of school.

The new date for students to report to schools will be Aug. 17. Schools were previously expected to resume on Aug. 10.

According to Vernon Parish’s reopening plans, pre-K through fourth grade will attend schools in person beginning on Monday, Aug. 17. Fifth grade through eighth grade will begin on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

High school students will attend based on a “hybrid” plan because those classes change classrooms and groups multiple times in a school day. The plan for grades 9-12 consists of all students receiving instruction through the virtual program on Mondays, beginning Aug.

17. Students with the last name beginning A-L will attend schools in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and students with last names beginning with M-Z will attend on Wednesdays and Fridays.

In his memo, Williams thanked families and staff members for their continued patience and flexibility.

“Rest assured that the Vernon Parish School District, Board Members, Administration, Faculty, and Staff are preparing to provide the safest, high-quality education that you have come to expect from us,” Williams stated.

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