In class? Virtual? Hybrid?
School boards in each parish in the New Orleans area are starting to release their plans for re-starting school in the fall. Some parishes will offer traditional, in class learning, for younger students. Other parishes plan to have distance learning (“virtual” classes). And some parishes will offer a “hybrid” of traditional and virtual learning.
First, the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, (BESE) has announced safety requirements that will apply to every Louisiana school, public and private.
BESE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL LOUISIANA SCHOOLS:
Specific requirements within the policy are defined according to the state’s current reopening phase (phase 1, phase 2, or phase 3). A general summary of the standards follows:
- Group sizes: The maximum group size that may convene indoors in a single room or outdoors at any time are 10 individuals (phase 1), 25 individuals (phase 2), and 50 individuals (phase 3).
- Group composition: Younger students unable to wear face coverings or maintain physical distancing should be assigned static groups, which must include at minimum, students in grade 2 or lower. The composition of a group may change if students are able to maintain physical distancing. Students with disabilities must continue to receive special education services in the least restrictive environment possible.
- Physical standards for use of school facilities: Groups that convene indoors must do so in a room enclosed by a wall or partition. If groups convene outdoors, each group must remain separated. Schools must limit crowding at entry and exit points to the greatest extent possible. Maximum group sizes and physical distance recommendations must be maintained. High-touch surfaces in rooms used by multiple groups must be cleaned before and after use by each group.
- COVID-19 symptoms monitoring: Upon arriving at the school facility, each student and adult must be assessed for symptoms of COVID-19 as defined by the CDC, to include an initial temperature check. Each school must establish an isolation area for anyone showing signs of being sick, which must be cleaned after being occupied by a sick individual.
- Face coverings: While inside the school facility, all adults and students in grades 3 through 12 must wear a face covering to the greatest extent possible and practical within the local community context. Students in grades pre-K through 2 may wear a face covering. Children under age 2 and individuals with breathing difficulties should not wear a face covering.
- Facility cleaning: High-touch surfaces must be cleaned multiple times a day, including bathrooms.
- Personal hygiene: Students must wash or sanitize hands upon arrival at the school, at least every two hours, before and after eating or using outdoor play equipment, and before exiting the school facility.
- Hygienic supplies: School employees must be provided adequate access to supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, paper towels, tissues, and face coverings when needed. Appropriate quantities are to be provided according to the role, number, and age of students served by the employee.
- Student transportation: Buses must not exceed 25 percent capacity in phase 1, 50 percent in phase 2, and 75 percent in phase 3, spaced to the greatest extent possible according to the current reopening phase.
- Determinations of student placement in a distance or in-person education program: Determinations are made in consideration of the student’s unique academic, social, emotional, familial, and medical needs, in consultation with the student’s parent or custodian.
- Exceptions: LEAs will address medical or disability exceptions on an individual basis in accordance with local policies.
- The complete set of standards is available for public viewing online.
Parishes listed alphabetically.
JEFFERSON PARISH PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
The district will offer a combination of in-person and virtual teaching and learning, following guidelines from Louisiana’s reopening phases and the Jefferson Parish School Board’s approved 2020-2021 School Calendar.
They are prioritizing safe, in-person learning, particularly for their prekindergarten through fifth grade students. However, families have the choice for their children to receive virtual at-home teaching and learning using Virtual Jefferson.
All information in Start Strong Jefferson is subject to change based upon Louisiana’s reopening phases. The full plan can be found here.
LIVINGSTON PARISH SCHOOLS:
The school system will reopen in phases.
Phase one will “be forced to open schools with all students in a virtual environment.”
Phase two will reopen a hybrid format, with an alternating schedule that “facilitates student learning through both virtual and in-person instruction.”
Phase three will include welcoming all students back to their campuses with social distancing provisions in place.
NEW ORLEANS PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
NOLA Public Schools have postponed the start of the school year to the second week August. When the fall session starts, all New Orleans public schools (including charter schools) will have distance learning only.
“While returning students to the classroom is absolutely critical,” said NOLA PS Superintendent Henderson Lewis, “the latest data is unfortunately going in the wrong direction and we just can’t do that at this time.” Lewis says the school board will consider bringing students into classrooms after Labor Day.
Although students won’t be on campus, school buildings will remain open so staff may access tools and equipment to support distance learning.
More information is available here.
ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS CATHOLIC SCHOOLS:
The Archdiocese will allow each individual school to make the decision on whether to have in class or distance learning.
All Catholic schools will need to present their own back-to-school plans to families.
Their options include a traditional school setting, a virtual setting, or a hybrid model for families to choose from based on their needs.
Any Catholic schools returning to a traditional school setting will have to follow safety standards sest by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the Louisiana Department of Health, and the Louisiana Board of Elementary School Education.
PLAQUEMINES PARISH SCHOOLS:
“The Plaquemines Parish School Board is committed to doing all we can to return to as normal of a school year as reasonably possible given the circumstances. As COVID-19 continues to influence the status of the 2020-2021 school year, our schools will work to leverage available resources, share best practices, and advocate and take advantage of federal and state waivers in the best interests of our students and their families.”
The Plaquemines Parish School Board will offer three options:
- Traditional with additional regulations to ensure the safety of students and staff
- A hybrid schedule with additional regulations to ensure the safety of students and staff
ST. BERNARD PARISH PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
The St. Bernard Parish Public School System will be providing families with two options for the upcoming school year:
- Primary Option: Students will return to school following the educational model outlined in the plan provided.
- Secondary Option: 100% virtual option. Different from what families and students experienced in the spring, students will engage in learning with recorded video lessons, and attendance and grades will be monitored. A separate registration is required for this option, and information can be found in the plan.
The “Guide to Returning to School” along with information about the district wide policies and procedures for this upcoming year can be found by visiting www.sbpsb.org/strongstart2020 .
ST. CHARLES PARISH PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
The district is preparing to bring kids back in phases, with pre-K and elementary school students following a traditional schedule, in class.
High school students will be on a hybrid schedule. Students will split into two groups. They will attend school in person on an alternating schedule with distance learning from home.
ST. TAMMANY PARISH PUBLIC SCHOOLS:
The St. Tammany Parish Public School Board has updated the start date for schools in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis in Louisiana.
Public schools in St. Tammany will now begin the 2020-21 school year after Labor Day.
CDC guidelines for reopening schools
The system’s “Safe Start Days” are set for September 8 through September 11, following a School Board recommendation to delay school reopening.
The first full day of school with all students is Monday, September 14.
TANGIPAHOA PARISH SCHOOLS:
The district is planning to reopen with kindergarten through sixth grade in class for traditional learning.
The remaining students will study virtually, with distance learning from home.
TERREBONNE PARISH SCHOOLS:
Terrebonne Parish currently has the highest infection rate in Louisiana (per 100,000).
In light of this resurgence of COVID-19 cases, Terrebonne Parish Public Schools will delay the opening of schools until the day after the Labor Day holiday (September 8, 2020).
The remainder of school calendar (Holidays) will remain the same with days at the end of the school year added.