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First day of school reactions from superintendents throughout Acadiana

Blanchard appointed Superintendent of St. Martin Parish schools
Posted at 1:55 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 11:45:07-04

Today was the first day of school for a lot of students in Acadiana. KATC reached out to the superintendents to see how the big day went.

Here are their responses:

Acadia Parish

Acadia Parish Superintendent Scott Richard said he is very pleased with the opening of schools.

"Things went extremely smooth, we're very appreciative of the cooperation of our parents, our students and our staff," Richard said.

The staff returning to campuses prior to students returning really helped get basic routines in place, he stated.

"Overall, in general, I've visited 13 schools out of 26 today, and really pleased with the level of compliance that everybody has shown."

Iberia Parish

The Iberia Parish School District had a "slower start" Tuesday as half of its elementary school students returned to class and many of its high schools held virtual orientations.

According to Iberia Parish School Superintendent Carey Laviolette, the district had a "slower start" Tuesday with elementary students with last names beginning with the letters "A-K" returning to school first.

Laviolette said this allowed teachers and staff a chance to orient students in a smaller group and helped to have a smooth first day back.

On Wednesday, elementary students with last names beginning with the letters "L-Z" will be returning to class. Then all elementary students will return to class on Thursday.

Beginning on Thursday, the district will welcome its Hybrid A students for middle and high schools. Then the Hybrid B students will return on Friday for middle and high schools.

The district also had its largest three high schools have their virtual orientations Tuesday. Elementary students already had theirs last week.

However, she said that virtual students did have some issues that the school board is working on one at a time.

According to Assistant Superintendent Heath Hulin, some parents were having issues with establishing virtual learning and logging into their Chromebook computers.

Hulin said that parents of virtual learning students have been assigned a contact at the school board called a "virtual facilitator," who helps parents with virtual learning issues.

"I think that this is an unusual and challenging year, and it’s one where we will have to expect the unexpected," said Laviolette. "We will take each challenge one at time."

Lafayette Parish

The first day of school in Lafayette Parish was "very successful," according to LPSS spokesperson Allison Dickerson.

Dickerson said school staff were well prepared for the day, everything ran smoothly, and reports from across the district were positive.

"It was great to see students excited about the return to learning. All of the work and preparation of our employees is clearly evident."

St. Martin Parish

The first day of school for St. Martin Parish is looking like a success for Superintendent Allen Blanchard.

With few problems in person, the main concern is still virtual learning for students in the parish. In-person learning was fairly quiet, according to Blanchard. Schools had very few issues with getting students to schools and into their classrooms.

Safety procedures concerning COVID-19 were adhered to at all schools, Blanchard said.

One issue that Blanchard noted was not with in-person learning, but virtual. He says that currently some students are without the tech needed to complete online learning.

3,200 students are currently enrolled in the fully virtual program.

Blanchard says that Chromebook shipments are delayed and students will be getting them late despite orders being placed back in May.

Parents are asked to contact the school system if they run into any issues.

Some students are also on a hybrid schedule which includes both in-person and virtual learning. Blanchard says those students will be able to log on and interact with their teachers while also being able to work in person at their school location.

Vermilion Parish

Schools in Vermilion Parish had an overall productive first day back, according to Superintendent Tommy Byler.

"We had a few hiccups, but it was nothing that our people couldn't handle," said Byler of the measures in place at schools for students to return.

On Tuesday, Vermilion Parish welcomed all of its girl students for Grades 1-5 with all boys reporting on Wednesday.

Byler said that they will have a better picture of the return when all elementary students report to class on Thursday.

Vermilion Parish schools will begin their virtual learning program later this week.

Byler said that schools are still having a few issues finalizing virtual students, but that considering that no one has been on school grounds since March 13, it is a win.

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