Calcasieu schools will be open on Monday

Marlisa Harding

The Calcasieu Parish School Board announced on Friday that it will continue its plans to return to a five-day school week for all students despite the state returning to Phase 2. Gov. John Bel Edwards’ executive order and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s policy allows individual school districts to continue to operate under Phase 3 guidelines.

Karl Bruchhaus, superintendent, said the district remains committed to quality education and health safety. “As we know now more than ever, the value of the time our students get with their teachers in a face-to-face setting is crucial to the educational process,” he said.

“While there will certainly be challenges ahead with protecting that time in our school buildings because of COVID-19, we are committed to providing those opportunities for our students whenever possible.”

Holly Holland, spokeswoman for the district, said the cooperation of faculty, staff and families thus far has helped mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing, temperature checks and the requirement of face coverings will continue to be enforced as the district moves forward with its plans.

“Since this is a matter of public health, we all have a part to play in this and we’re doing our part as a district. We hope everyone inside of our walls and outside of the walls are doing the same,” she said.

CPSB families are successfully playing an important role in stopping the spread of the disease, she added.

“We’re strongly encouraging them to follow that checklist on display and keep their kids at home if they’re showing any sort of symptom,” she said.

Very few students have tested positive or had direct contact, Holland said. Families working with the district to mitigate the spread “helps the school day flow better, reduces the work on staff and gives the child a chance to get better,” she said.

While the district is excited to return to the five-day school week, plans are in place should an unexpected shut down, like March’s, happens again. “Our message internally to staff has been, ‘Let’s prepare for another March 13th. Let’s be prepared if for some reason we’re 100 percent virtual tomorrow.”

Families have from November 30 – December 4 to opt in or out of the face-to-face or virtual option. The next option to change educational options will be February 2021.

Change forms can be completed in the school’s front office.Calcasieu Parish School Board offices.

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