Concern surrounds the re-opening of Louisiana schools

Updated: Jun. 22, 2020 at 5:09 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The State Department of Education is focused on what will happen at the start of the next school year in August.

“Each local district develops it’s own plan for reopening in the 2020/2021 academic year, and these decisions are best made at the local level,” says Sandy Holloway.

The President of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Sandy Holloway, says while the state will give school districts specific guidelines, each school district will be able to decide what is best for them based on individual communities.

Holloway says the state will soon have school district leaders submit their plans to include every detail of the upcoming school year.

“For example, what is the school systems’ plan for instructional delivery? Will it be in person or blended? Parents are very interested in that. They are anxious, and they’re ready for school to begin which we thing will begin in August, but what will it look like?” says Holloway.

In a New Orleans Public School survey, more than half of the parents who participated said they were open to a staggered schedule next year.

66 percent of the students said minimizing health risks when starting the next school year is a top priority to them.

“It’s my hope that we give parents the opportunity of having an on-line option because when you think about putting that many people under one roof across the state, we have to be ready, and it’s not something that we can take lightly,” says Senator Cleo Fields.

As chair of the State Senate Committee of Education, Senator Cleo Fields will hold a hearing on Thursday to discuss the reopening of schools.

“When we do it, we have to make absolutely certain that every kid is safe and in a safe environment as well as teachers and staff as well,” says Senator Fields.

“We also know the challenge, the critical need is that we don’t know how many students will be back with us because of the concerns of parents; however, many parents are ready,” says Holloway.

Holloway says the challenges also include, transportation for students, meals and how they’ll be served plus social distancing in classrooms.

“Yes, it will be a challenge, but I do believe that our educators will be prepared to guide our students and take them from where they are to where they need to be,” says Holloway.

Holloway says a lot will depend on what the Governor announces in the coming weeks. She says phase three does include the reopening of school buildings, but it will be up to the individual districts to clean those schools and have them ready for the next school year.

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