BATON ROUGE, La. - In response to the statewide closure of school facilities to students to curb the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Louisiana Department of Education on Thursday released a suite of resources to support school system leaders with academic and workforce planning during this time.
The resources, which are now available on the Department's COVID-19 web page, include various distance education models; samples of daily schedules and communication systems; an inventory of instructional materials, most of which have been deemed top-tier through the Department's nationally recognized review process; and guidance on how to identify and manage staffing needs.
"School facilities may be closed, but the well-being of students, families, teachers and staff remain top priority. Continued learning contributes to student well-being," said Acting State Superintendent Beth Scioneaux. "Many school systems have demonstrated great ingenuity during this time and have begun offering distance learning opportunities. The Department hopes the release of these resources will prove helpful to school system leaders as they continue to make decisions that affect their communities."
On March 13, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued an emergency proclamation that closed all public school facilities to students through at least April 13. School systems were advised to continue essential functions, such as providing meals and offering distance education, to the extent possible during the closure period.
According to an internal survey, 56 percent of school systems are now offering distance education to their students. Distance education can take many forms. It does not require the use of technology devices or Internet access.
The resources released today aim to equip all school systems with tools and guidance to help them start or continue to make academic and workforce decisions based on the unique needs of their communities. Key documents include:
Continuous Education Guide: Guidance and tools to support school system leaders as they analyze available instructional and technology resources, develop an approach to providing distance learning opportunities, and implement a distance learning plan.
Academic Resources Guide: A comprehensive listing of academic resources available for distance learning formats, organized by subject and curriculum provider.
Staffing Guide: A guide to support school system leaders as they determine which essential functions must continue during school facility closures and how to create a staffing plan to ensure the continuation of those functions.