Although many are rejoicing as Louisiana begins with Gov. John Bel Edwards’ announcement of Phase 3 of Louisiana reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent of Schools for Iberia Parish Carey Laviolette said local schools will see minimal changes to the policies that have already been put in place.
At a special meeting held Thursday, Laviolette said only three changes will be taking place for Iberia Parish schools as it enters Phase 3. The first is that group sizes will go from 25 to 50 per group with physical distancing still in place, and the second will be buses going from 50 percent to 75 percent occupancy.
“You still have to provide distancing to the largest extent possible (on buses), so it will probably just add a few more families,” Laviolette said.
The third change will be the allowing of band and vocal music to start back up again for the district. Laviolette said a committee will soon be formed within the scope of the guidelines to assess the transition back for band and vocal music for students.
“If we can keep practicing all the things we know, we can continue to have school.” Laviolette said.
The superintendent said the first week back to school was largely a smooth opening, with the biggest problem being some difficulties with virtual learning.
Assistant Superintendent Heath Hulin said the first two days of virtual learning were a little bumpy, with the school district having to perform face-to-face support for groups of parents who had questions about how the virtual learning programs worked.
“We did as much as we could for parents, we did step-by-step instructions and video but some people just needed face-to-face support and that’s what we’re doing.” Hulin said.
There were also problems with students logging in for the day, with Tuesday seeing virtually no log-ins from students. By Thursday, however, Hulin said about 2,596 students had marked themselves present for school.
“We’ve narrowed it down and it looks like we’re beginning to turn a corner,” Hulin said.
Providing internet hotspots for parents who requested has been completed, and Hulin said the district was now providing it for those who didn’t initially request it. Once that is completed, the district will move on to provide hot spots for households with more than one student to allow for better connectivity for virtual learning.