Franklin Parish teachers will report to school Aug. 10 with students reporting Aug. 24.
The announcement along with school attendance options were made at the School Board’s regular July 22 meeting.
The time spent between Aug. 10 and Aug. 24 will be used for teacher professional development, readying schools and curriculum for the return of students, according to John Gullatt, Franklin Parish schools superintendent.
“My motto for this school year is patience,” Gullatt said. “Everybody is going to have to be that way because school as we knew it before COVID is never going to be the same…not for at least two or three years.”
Franklin Parish schools will have different degrees of social distancing in compliance with Gov. John Bel Edwards three reopening phases.
If Louisiana is in Phase 1 when Franklin Parish schools reopen, distance learning will be in place.
“Phase 1 is what happened to us in March,” Gullatt said. “We shut down, and everybody goes home.”
Students will possibly attend “virtual classes” or pick up their assignments at the school similar to last year.
If schools begin while Louisiana is in Phase 2, classrooms will be made up of static groups of 25. The 25 includes teachers and aides, but different teachers can rotate into the group.
“That means the static group never changes,” Gullatt said. “From day one, those 18 to 23 kids will always be the same the entire school year through Phase 2.”
Students will also have “grab and go” breakfast and lunches, Gullatt said.
In Phase 2, students will possibly attend school five days a week if “bus
routes are done properly,” Gullatt said.
“It is not the class size that is the problem, but it is getting (students) to school,” Gullatt said.
Under Phase 2, transportation vehicles may be at 50 percent capacity, and under Phase 3 vehicles may climb to 75 percent capacity, according to Louisiana Department of Education guidelines released June 25.
If Franklin Parish schools can not bring all students and keep buses below 50 percent capacity, schools will revert back to possibly two days a week, Gullatt said. One group may go Tuesday and Thursday while another group may go Wednesday and Friday. Monday will be a “planning day.”
Initial estimates from a Franklin Parish school survey indicates majority of parents were planning to bring their children to school, Gullatt said.
“This is all contingent on bus availability,” he said.
In Phase 2, students will enter school in one place and go to a “home room type setting,” Gullatt said. When in home room, temperature and rolls will be checked and “grab and go” breakfast will be served.
Also in Phase 2 and 3, hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the school and on busses. High contact areas such as door knobs and light switches will be sanitized throughout the day.
Additionally, a LPN or nursing assistant will be provided in each school along with a “sick room” for students to be taken to if he or she shows signs of COVID-19.
“Teachers are going to have to be observant for signs throughout the day,” Gullatt said.
Possibly, students will be allowed to bring water bottles or a hands-free water dispensary will be placed in each school.
Gullatt and School Board members are hoping for Phase 3.
“In Phase 3, we will be back to school as we knew it before COVID existed,” Gullatt said.
School Board President Richie Kelly asked for prayer, commended Gullatt and his administration and asked the public for their support.
“We should all pray for Phase 3,” Kelly said. “I implore the public to please pray and support our schools, our teachers and our staff. I know it is frustrating to everybody but please be positive and don’t poor mouth or carry on. If you see a problem, be part of the solution.”