IBERIA PARISH — The Iberia Parish School System is among the districts making changes in the classroom amid the pandemic.
According to the school system, the parish's COVID-19 positivity rate is 3.4% and there is minimal quarantining, which is why the decision was made to have all middle school and high school students currently on the hybrid schedule return to class full-time by November 16.
Some parents, however, don't think that decision is safe.
"I do want [my daughter] to have interaction with her teachers, but, at the same time, I prefer that she's safe, and this gives a little bit of an opportunity to social distance at school," said John Romero, a parent of a Delcambre High School student.
Romero's daughter is currently on the hybrid schedule. He says the school days have been going well, his daughter is excelling in her studies and communicates with her teachers via email.
"What worries me is the social distancing possibly not being as effective with more children in school," explained Romero.
The father is hoping the school board rethinks their decision.
"You get that interaction with the teachers, like I said, but you're also capable of social distancing a lot better," said Romero.
We reached out to the Iberia Parish Association of Educators. President Cammie Maturin sent us the following:
Throughout the pandemic, it has been wise to err on the side of caution. Extraordinary measures were taken when school was closed in March and when mitigation measures were enforced by BESE in July. Through the enforcement of strict mitigation efforts put in place by our governor, Louisiana has been able to curb the virus twice. Now, when the rest of the country is seeing a surge, Louisiana's rates remain relatively flat.
Mrs. Carey Laviolette's decision to merge the hybrid students into a traditional school setting is the next step in going back to normal following this pandemic. Iberia Parish has seen a steady decline in new cases, and our schools have not had to take widespread quarantine measures. As long as measures put in place by BESE through Act 9 of the state legislature, we should be able to return safely to a full, five-day school week. Educators and parents alike will continue to demand that the strict protocols continue to be held in place to the greatest extent possible. Now is the time for large schools to start making plans to socially distance such a large number of students to make sure everyone remains safe and healthy through this continued pandemic.
The school system is giving current hybrid students the option to switch to the full virtual model. To do so, you will have to contact their school before November 16.
School officials are also giving students enrolled in virtual learning the option to stay on that schedule, but if you're interested in switching to in-person, parents have until Friday, Oct. 30 to make the change.