NewsLafayette Parish


After a five-month absence, parochial schools reopening

Posted at 9:41 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 22:41:59-04

“We’re doing well,” says First Baptist Christian School principal Susan Emerson. “The kids seem to be excited they’re smiling and they’re asking questions like, ‘Are we gonna’ get to have volleyball? Are we going to have basketball?’ They’re excited to be back and see their friends, they are.”

That was the general theme gathered from three private schools in the Lafayette area on this first day of classes in August, 2020, of the Corona Era.

At 11 a.m., we started our mini-tour of schools at Cathedral-Carmel School in Lafayette. One CCS parents says, after all the emails and the procedures put in place, now it’s time to pray and trust the process about keeping kids safe.

“I do trust them.” Missy Andrade, mother of a third-grader and first-grader at Cathedral, doesn’t hesitate in showing her support of the school’s administration. “As a parent of two kids here, I know they’re in great hands, and I know that this school’s going to do everything in their power to create a safe space for our kids, and make sure they’re still able to learn in this new reality.”

At noon, the KATC cameras headed to First Baptist Christian School. That’s where we met two seniors, Nathan and Sheridan.

“It’s a little scary, but I’m just excited to be back and see all my friends,” says Nathan Hall. Fellow senior Sheridan Swift agreed. “It’s a little bit different having to wear your mask all the time, especially in class, and going to the bathroom at different times, and switching classes at different times is just not what we’re used to.”

And then at 12:45 p.m., we made our final stop at St. Thomas More. Marty Cannon is the new assistant principal in charge of curriculum, and he says after a decidedly ‘student-less’ summer, it’s just great to finally, finally see some faces. “Schools need kids in ‘em. Otherwise, it’s just a big, empty boring building.”

The first day in the land of the Cougars went well; there’s been a large campus-wide commitment to sanitizing stations, smaller class sizes and spreading out kids.

“I believe we’ve gone a step further than the state’s mandated, just to make sure that this is a safe and secure spot,” explains Cannon. “But now you just gotta’ do it, you gotta’ pull the trigger. Everything’s been pretty much theoretical up to this point; now you just have to do it, and so far, it’s been running smooth.”

For these three schools, it’s a cautionary day one. But cautionary, suggests this story’s parent, should also be balanced with optimism as well.

“The start of school I think is the most hopeful and brightest day we’ve had in five months,” smiles Andrade.

Good thoughts to all on this educational road back.

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