More than 30,000 public school students go back to class in Lafayette Parish tomorrow.
"We're ready, we got this," says CAO Jennifer Gardner.
Gardner urges all parents or guardians to log on to the parent portal and make sure the telephone number they have for their contact is correct. Messages are sent to the phone number in the portal.
In addition to the common sense advice of getting to bed early and having a good breakfast, Gardner asked for patience.
"Make sure you're patient the first day," she said. "Traffic is going to be heavy, make sure you're at your bus stop early. Work with us on the first day; there are going to be so many more cars on the road."
The system that LPSS uses to collect lunch money is undergoing safety and security updates today, but it is hoped the system will be back up and running tomorrow or Friday. To be sure, send lunch money with students tomorrow: Breakfast is $1.50 for all students; lunch is $1.75 for elementary students and $2 for middle and high schoolers.
Over the summer, changes were made to the system's dress code, student handbook and to the pupil progression plan - the set of standards that determine how students are graded, promoted, etc. Some changes also were made to school districts, to accommodate the opening of new schools.
Gardner said that the system has tried to be proactive by sending out an email or phone call to all rezoned families to let them know which school their child would be attending. Doing that had another benefit, she said, because the system was able to find an error in the list, and get that student's zone corrected.
The changes to the dress code include the addition of "joggers" to the banned pants list. Wind suits, gym shorts, leggings, jeans, jeggings and sweat pants are already banned, in addition to cargo pants. Joggers are defined as pants with elastic around the ankles. Another change includes high schoolers in the an on "extreme hairstyles that are deemed distracting to the learning environment." There is no definition of what that means, however.
Other changes address changes to the definition of "infraction" and to several consequences, as well as time limits for make-up work, how cheating on a test is handled, and an increase in the penalties for violation of the tobacco/smoking policy - which also covers vapes and JUULs.
To see a full list of notable changes, scroll down. The full handbook is posted below the list of changes below.
The changes to the Pupil Progression Plan include adjustments to grade recovery programs for high school students, and to the transitional ninth grade that some students who didn't pass eighth grade are eligible for.
Another change is in the Grading Practices and Guidelines section of the plan, and it allows homework to be included in a student's final grade - but caps it at 5 percent of the formative portion of the student's total grade.
To see the pupil progression plan, scroll down past the handbook.