Posted Date: 06/27/2020
Jefferson Davis Parish Guidelines for Start of 2020-21 School Year
Jefferson Davis Parish School District has received guidance from the Department of Education and the new State Superintendent regarding the opening of school for the 2020-21 school year. Dr. Welsh, lead physician for the Department of Health for the State of Louisiana, and Dr. Cade Brumley, State Superintendent of Schools, outlined a framework from which we are to operate. There will be much additional clarity coming as we receive and develop it.
The guiding factors from the state level including our Regional Department of Health, Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh, for opening schools are the following:
1. Maintain a six foot distance.
2. Wear facial coverings
3. Practice excellent hygiene and routinely clean surfaces.
The latest medical research according to Dr. Cavanaugh indicates:
1. The general medical consensus for defining contact is being in direct physical contact, being in the sneeze or cough path of someone, or being less than 6 feet from someone for a period of time (approximately 15 minutes). If someone displays symptoms of the virus and has to be quarantined for up to 14 days then everyone who was in contact with them has to be quarantined. If all of the distance and mask requirements were adhered to then others are not considered to be in contact with the individual and would not be required to be quarantined.
2. The youth population is the group that seems to be more asymptomatic than any other age group and they are also the group that has been identified statistically as the largest spreaders of the virus.
3. The overwhelming medical evidence supports that mask wearing among the asymptomatic group significantly reduces the spread of the virus.
It is for the above reasons that the state and the medical community are mandating that students in grades three and above wear masks in the classroom and especially during transition times.
While asking students to wear masks comes with its own unique set of challenges, the most difficult part of adhering to the mandates is to create an environment where we can insure parents that students are able to maintain a six foot distance. Many of our principals were quick to express that it would be a physical impossibility to maintain this distance in their schools. Some of our principals already experienced this challenge when preparing for graduation ceremonies.
To be able to adhere to the requirements of the state we have discussed these challenges at length and have come up with a resolution. Please be clear that the guidance I am providing you was developed to address the conditions and parameters that are being given to us and could change with additional guidance received through proper channels and as the virus conditions change.
We are currently proposing an A, B, A, B schedule with Fridays being a hybrid distance learning/ day. Because we cannot accommodate all students on the buses and classrooms and maintain the distance requirement, we are going to split the school population where half of the students come to school on Monday and Wednesday and the other half on Tuesday and Thursday, Friday would be a dedicated distance learning day with a component for transferring extended lesson materials for students that do not have computer or internet access.
Our supervisors are presently working very quickly to give teachers timely guidance on the selected lessons and essential standards and the Tech Department will provide guidance on the distance learning components. We understand that there will need to be flexibility on attendance, student count, assessments, grading etc. and that is forthcoming.
We are also looking into solutions for those students’ families that are concerned about returning and those that cannot return because of medical conditions
We are fully aware of the challenges that the above schedule will create working families and understand their dilemma however under the current conditions and pandemic situation we are forced to develop plans that may be difficult for some. These unprecedented times however are calling for unprecedented solutions. Additional information and guidance will be forthcoming.
Superintendent of Schools
Jefferson Davis Parish