St. Helena starts first week of school online due to coronavirus pandemic

St. Helena Parish students kick off new school year virtually

ST. HELENA PARISH, La. (WAFB) - As some students head back to class the first week of August, some schools, like St. Helena Parish, started their first week online.

School is back in session. Some are physically in the building, and some are now learning from inside their homes. For St. Helena Parish, all grades in the district are using a virtual learning platform.

“First, we learn to pray. Before we start our day, we always pray. And the second thing, you have to have patience. It doesn’t happen overnight; you will eventually learn patience. I work with five kids that are all mine and I have to have patience and God is helping me with my patience,” said mother, Tiffany Patterson.

Patterson and her children officially started school this week, but this time, it’s all online and her children are staying home. She says the process is going great, but it’s definitely a change from the regular routine for both families and teachers.

“I believe we are doing a fairly decent job at making sure all of our kids are on the online platforms. We still do have issues with technology, with access to the internet. I am going online to check to make sure I see how the classes are going, and I see where the majority of our students are participating in our online platform,” said Superintendent Dr. Kelli Joseph.

The St. Helena school system gave its students Chromebooks and personal WiFi hot spots. Families also have a direct line to teachers and staff if they’re having technological issues.

“We usually try to get the teacher to email me saying that the kid hasn’t been logged on and I do a check just to make sure his computer is okay, WiFi access is okay, and if there is a discrepancy with that, I will go out and fix it,” said Gregory Lewis, truancy officer for the school system.

St. Helena Parish also is distributing extra resources such as “eLearning” bags. Inside the bags are kits students can use for their virtual lessons to help keep them engaged.

School officials in St. Helena Parish say they will continue to use the virtual learning platform even as students come back to school if parents are still concerned about sending their children to campus.

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