Sunshine Bridge closure affecting Ascension Parish schools

Bridge closure delays school start times

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The closure of the Sunshine Bridge over the Mississippi River has resulted in schedule changes for some students and staff in the Ascension Parish School System (APSS). Leaders have come up with a plan they hope will lessen the impact.

The desks at schools across Ascension Parish are empty for fall break. When some students return on Wednesday, they will be on a slightly different schedule. Several schools were forced to detour from their routines when a barge carrying a large crane hit a support beam on the Sunshine River Bridge early Friday morning. APSS Superintendent David Alexander says it made for a hectic morning. “It’s, wow, we have a challenge with the bridge now,” Alexander said.

Alexander says system leaders had to sit down and figure out how to get students, 165 employees, and the businesses that support the schools across the river. To do that, APSS delayed the start time at the following schools by one hour:

  • Ascension Head Start
  • Donaldsonville Primary
  • Lowery Elementary
  • Lowery Middle
  • Donaldsonville High

Alexander says for now, that one hour each day should not impact the required classroom learning time. “The good news is we have a lot banked time. We are using that banked time. We won’t be in an instructional minute dilemma for several days, maybe a few weeks,” Alexander said.

School officials say they will revisit and rework the temporary schedule as needed, but right now, the focus is on the students' learning experience when they are in the classroom. “Our role is to make sure that 3rd graders, no matter what the time demand is, are prepared to be 4th graders,” Alexander said.

(Source: WAFB)

Students in Donaldsonville who are enrolled in programs across the Mississippi River can expect to get transportation updates from program principals. Those include APPLE Digital Academy, ABC Pelican, the Choice Program, and Early College option.

“We understand we can’t eliminate the inconvenience, but what we are trying to do is minimize it as much as we can,” Alexander said.

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