The Lafayette Parish School System on Thursday released an update regarding the district's reopening plans for the upcoming fall semester. The update comes after the Lafayette Parish Association of Educators (LPAE) held a press conference Thursday morning, calling for more information and transparency from LPSS. Specifically, the LPAE says they're not happy with a recent LPSS decision to have children in pre-K through 5th grades attend school daily.
Superintendent Irma Trosclair said in the statement, "“Safety continues to be our top priority, and we will continue to support safe practices in our schools. Staff continue to collaborate with health officials and are committed to supporting the health and safety of all employees and students. In our collaborations since the closure of schools in March, we have kept safety at the forefront of all decisions, and while there is a sense of anxiety amongst employees, students, and their families, we must find a way to educate our students and support their social and emotional needs.”
According to administrators, 30% of elementary students in the district have enrolled in Lafayette Online Academy. With the volume of elementary families opting for online learning through LOA, LPSS says the numbers of students reporting to class in person will be "significantly less" than in previous years, and they are anticipating class sizes to be smaller than in the past. This, LPSS adds, "enables LPSS to have students in grades PreK-5 report to school daily while remaining in compliance with the health and safety guidelines of the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), as well as the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) and Louisiana Department of Education."
“Elementary students are a priority for school districts. The skills taught to students in their early years are critical and provide the foundation for the rest of their educational career. Middle and high school students are more independent learners, and therefore, a hybrid/blended approach is more appropriate for older Page 1 students than for younger ones. We remain dedicated to supporting both online and in-person students,” added Superintendent Trosclair.
LPSS released an updated 2020-21 Learn Lafayette plan earlier this week that outlines how it will return to school and maintain a "safe and productive learning environment." Administrators say it is important for employees and families to review the plan as some changes were made.
The district continued that school administrators have been reporting to campuses to refine safety protocols. Teachers will return on August 31, when they will be trained in more detail specific to their particular school sites.
LPSS will follow state guidelines when it comes to reporting positive cases of COVID-19. Governor Edwards announced on Tuesday that the state is working on a system to "efficiently report relevant COVID-19 data in schools for greater public visibility." The Louisiana Department of Health is developing reporting protocols and LPSS will update when those are complete.
The district has developed a process itself to alert families when someone on campus tests positive for COVID-19: parents will be notified if someone in their child's class has tested positive for COVID-19; next, parents will be notified if their child was in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19. Return to school guidelines after testing positive for COVID-19 can also be found in the Learn Lafayette plan.
Find the full update from LPSS below:
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