By Kari Ifland, Beauregard Parish School Board
Beauregard Parish schools will open for the 2020-21 school year under the original calendar with students in four-day schools reporting Wednesday, Aug. 5, and students in five-day schools reporting Tuesday, Aug. 11, for those choosing the traditional school setting. For the current school semester, parents have also been provided the option for virtual learning, according to Superintendent Timothy Cooley.
“The Central Office staff along with the staff and faculties of our twelve schools are preparing to educate the students of our parish in unprecedented circumstances that are constantly changing,” he said. “We are planning for a number of scenarios both virtual and traditional as well as implementing different guidelines in various phases issued by the Governor and the Department of Education.”
The Beauregard Parish school system is concerned with meeting the educational needs of our students in uncertain times. These challenges require us to be flexible as current circumstances may change as our state and schools operate under different phases for public interaction.
“We understand that the Governor may implement any of these phases, both more or less restrictive, at any time during the school year, and we are making plans to be able to deliver educational services to our students regardless of the situation,” he explained.
The Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) have issued guidelines for re-opening schools across the state with details pertaining to each of the phases.
Beauregard Parish schools will re-open in accordance with the guidelines in Phase 2 cur- rently implemented by the state. These guidelines include restricting the number of people in each classroom to a limit of 25 while also maintaining social distancing measures, which means some classrooms may hold fewer students. The guidelines also place a limit of 50% of manufacturer’s stated capacity on buses.
Pre-kindergarten through sixth grade classes which are able to remain static (a grouping that does not change throughout the day) will meet daily. These static groups will remain separated throughout the school day for class, lunchroom, and outdoor activities.
Seventh through twelfth grades will meet at 50% capacity on a rotating basis. Students will be assigned to Group A or Group B scheduling, with Group A meeting on Mondays and Wednesdays and Group B meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
All of our schools with seventh through twelfth grades are currently working out schedules based on student numbers, familial relationships, bus routes, and food service regulations. Parents and students will be notified of the schedules as soon as schools are able to finalize their plans.
The Google Classroom platform will be used to deliver instruction to students on the days they are not on the school campus and to students who are enrolled in the virtual program.
Schools will also be implementing safety measures consistent with Department of Health and the Center for Dis- ease Control guidelines. Enhanced hand sanitation measures throughout the day, temperature checks upon arrival, social distancing measures, and required face coverings in grades 3-12 will be a part of the daily safety protocol at schools.
Schools will provide traffic flow for entrances, exits, and in hallways to limit interaction. All high-touch areas will be wiped down multiple times per day and enhanced cleaning procedures will be in place for all school facilities.
Parents and the public are encouraged to visit the Beauregard Parish School Board website at www.beau.k12.la.us and school websites for information and updates. The BPSB Return to School Plan will be posted and updated as necessary.
“We want parents, students, and BPSB employees to know that we are working every day to re-open our schools safely in compliance will all guidelines while at the same time preparing for all eventualities that may exist during this time,” concluded Cooley.
“We thank everyone for their cooperation, patience, and understanding as we navigate uncharted waters, and we want the public to know that we are making the best decisions possible with the current information available to provide our students with the options needed for their continued education.”