The Lafayette Parish School Board on Thursday released plans in conjunction with the state regarding the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year.
LPSS "has been in constant communication with the state and has been working with district staff to cautiously reopen school within the confines of a global pandemic. The guidelines released are meant to protect students and staff and will look much different than in years past," the system said in a statement.
The opening of schools will depend on the reopening phase of the state, as those guidelines strictly specify the number of percentages of groups at a given time. LPSS will adhere to the requirements regarding maximum group size and school bus capacity. Those guidelines are:
Group size: 10, including adults
Transportation: 25% capacity
Group size: 25, including adults
Transportation: 50% capacity
Group size: 50, including adults
Transportation: 75% capacity
Because of restrictions in the different phases, LPSS says it is looking at various models when students do return to school. Their desire is that students return to campus in a traditional learning environment, but other models are being considered in the event that is not possible. The options being considered are:
1) Traditional Learning - All students return to school for face-to-face instruction, observing new safety protocols
2) Virtual Learning - 100% online learning
3) Blended or Hybrid Learning - A combination of both in-person classes and online classes, in an effort to adhere to social distance requirements
LPSS' statement continues, "The first priority of LPSS is the health and safety of our students and staff. In addition to maintaining social distancing measures to keep at least six feet apart to the maximum extent possible, students should maintain static groups when feasible, and everyone will need to wash hands throughout the day.
Students in grades 3-12 and all adults may be required to wear face coverings (with certain medical exceptions such as severe breathing difficulties). At the district level, final decisions regarding particular expectations and requirements will be made as this situation develops and guidelines change.
Students will be assessed and monitored for symptoms upon arrival at school and throughout the day, including conducting an initial temperature check. Cleaning and sanitation will be paramount in order to reduce the spread of the virus and will focus on multiple cleanings of high-touch surfaces, including bathrooms.
LPSS students had access to online learning before the pandemic, but it has exhibited the imminent need for all students to have access to devices, LPSS said. The board is committed to making sure each student has access to a device such as a Chromebook.
The system used CARES funds to purchase sanitation supplies, thermometers, and devices to ensure a smooth transition when schools do reopen.
Read more on the state's guidelines for reopening schools here.
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