Richland Parish schools prepare to reopen in August
Richland Parish Superintendent of Schools Sheldon Jones said Richland Parish Schools are preparing to reopen in August.
“As we anticipate the reopening of schools for the 2020-2021 school year, the Richland Parish School Board has worked diligently to comply with guidance from the Resilient Louisiana Commission’s K -12 Subgroup and the Louisiana Department of Health released on June 25, 2020 to plan for a safe return to school,” Jones said in a statement. “Teachers and other nine month employees are scheduled to return to work on August 10, 2020. The first day for students to return to school is scheduled for August 12, 2020.”
He added that the plan released on Friday is tentative and contingent upon any future guidelines released by the governor’s office, the department of health and the department of education. Three key principles of state guidance are to wash hands often, wear a face mask or shield to the maximum extent possible and practice six feet social distancing to the maximum extent possible.
As one of many protective measures, schools will monitor students and staff for coronavirus symptoms (i.e. fever of 100.4 or higher, persistent cough, shortness of breath, sore throat or loss of taste/smell). Schools will monitor symptoms by assessing each student and employee upon arrival at campus and throughout the day, including initial temperature checks. Groups will pass singly through entry and exit points. Several non-contact forehead thermometers will also be available at each school.
Temperature Measurement Walkthrough Metal Detectors will be installed at each school; the detectors will alert for fever temperatures as well as unauthorized metal objects. Detectors will not identify asymptomatic carriers of the Coronavirus. If your child exhibits the symptoms listed above, we recommend that you take them to your family physician and do not send them to school until you receive medical clearance.
Schools will implement one of three instructional delivery models depending on the phase status of the state. For Phase 1, school buses can operate at 25 percent capacity and classrooms can function with 10 individuals (i.e. nine students and one teacher). In Phase 1, schools will function in a virtual setting. In a virtual setting, students would receive instruction in the home setting rather than in the school building. Preference for inclusion in the group of 10 individuals will be given to students with low speed or no home internet access and student with disabilities requiring select services. For those who have low speed or no home internet service, paper packets of assigned student work will be available.
In Phase 1, students in elementary school grades will maintain in static or fixed groups. Static or fixed group guidelines will not allow students in a class to interact with other students in the school building. Students in static or fixed groups will maintain six feet distancing to the maximum extent possible and will not be wearing face masks or shields in the classroom if lower than Grade 3. During Phase 1, grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches for eligible students will be available for pick up. School Meal Sites will serve students on Mondays (four meals) and Wednesdays (six meals) only. Hours of operation on Mondays and Wednesdays will be from 10 a.m. to noon at Delhi High School, Rayville High School and Mangham Elementary School.
For Phase 2, school buses can operate at 50 percent capacity and classrooms can function with 25 individuals (i.e. 24 students and one teacher). To the extent possible, school will be offered to all students in a traditional face-to-face setting similar to the one that took place during the 2019-2020 school year. However, if safe operations will not allow, schools will function in a hybrid setting. A hybrid setting is a combination of a virtual setting similar to the one described in Phase 1 and the traditional face-to-face setting. In this phase, we will implement an A/B model to provide in person instruction to half of our students on alternating days. For those who have low speed or no home internet service, paper packets of assigned student work will be made available.
For Phase 3, school buses can operate at 75 percent capacity and classrooms can function with 50 individuals (i.e. 49 students and 1 teacher). In Phase 3, schools will function in a traditional face-to-face setting. Junior high and high schools will participate in athletic competitions during this phase only. Students in Grades 3-12 and all adults will be required to wear face masks or shields. If your child has been diagnosed with severe breathing difficulties, please make the school’s principal aware. Students and employees with diagnosed severe breathing difficulties who have supporting physician’s documentation should not wear masks or shields.
Proactive measures to clean and promote personal hygiene will include, but not be limited to:
• Use of hand sanitizer at least 60 percent Isopropyl Alcohol or Ethanol to kill the Coronavirus.
*Shared indoor facilities are cleaned after every group’s use.
• High touch surfaces as well as bathrooms are cleaned frequently.
• Hand washing upon arrival and at exit as well as multiple times during the school day.
In the event of a Coronavirus confirmed positive case of a student or employee, the principal will contact the Superintendent to report. The principal and superintendent will contact the regional medical director to report. A contract tracer from the Louisiana Department of Health may make contact with parents and/or employees to identify those potentially infected. A form letter will be sent to parents making them aware of any positive cases reported for their child’s school. It is important to note that a confirmed positive case is not an automatic trigger to close school.
The Richland Parish School Board Virtual Learning Academy will be offered as an option to the traditional face-to-face school setting during the upcoming school year. Virtual courses will be offered through the Google and Edgenuity platforms. More detailed information concerning the academy will be provided prior to the beginning of school.
Please complete the survey at the following link to share your preference for the upcoming school year: https://forms.gle/vfBZWiSde9KwBwW8A
Please contact your child’s assigned school for questions pertaining to school reopening. Coronavirus updates are located on our district website at http://richland.k12.la.us/covid19resources.html.
“Stay safe as we continue to plan and prepare for 2020-2021 school reopening,” Jones said.