Franklin Parish schools are reopening at their own “pace” and will continue to take COVID precautions, said John Gullatt school superintendent.
Gullatt told Franklin Parish School Board members items of progress and hinderances his administration has faced with reopening at the agenda meeting Monday.
“With what is going on with the coronavirus, going forward it is a lot better than jumping in full steam ahead,” Gullatt said. “There are so many places that have jumped in, now there are a couple places in the state where individual schools have to shut down.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Sept. 11 went into Phase 3 for the reopening of Louisiana. Under Phase 3, sporting events will be limited to 25 percent of capacity with social distancing required, busses can operate at 75 percent capacity and maximum group size that may convene indoors in a single room is 50.
Since opening, Franklin Parish public schools have added pre-kindergarten through fifth to their bus routes.
“It seems to be going quite nicely,” Gullatt said.
Electronic static disinfectors have also been added to each school to better disinfect at the end of each day.
“With everything that has been going on, it has been going pretty smooth,” said School Board member Eddie Ray Bryan.
One hinderance in the reopening process came when Richwood High School cancelled its game with Franklin Parish in Monroe Tuesday after a Franklin Parish player tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.
Franklin Parish Athletic Director Barry Sebren said the game will not be made up.
Franklin Parish scrimmaged Ouachita in Monroe last Thursday.
Franklin Parish head football coach Sonny Nason said one of his players went to the doctor Friday after feeling bad.
"He had been feeling great all week and we have been taking
temperatures and following all guidelines," Nason said. "He went to the doctor Friday and had a quick test."
After the coaches were told of the test results, Nason contacted the state Department of Health. He was told to go back and review the film to see who the player had contact with during the scrimmage.
After watching the film clip by clip, the offensive lineman had contact with two other offensive lineman and a wide receiver he helped up.
Franklin Parish did not huddle during the scrimmage.
"We determined those four would be quarantined," Nason said.
Meanwhile, because Ouachita Parish's defense went into a huddle after each play, they had more players needing to be quarantined which led to the cancellation of the Ouachita-Neville football game this Friday.
"They say they have 13 players that had to be quarantined even though we saw nine instances where our player made contact with their players," Nason said.
Nason said the coaches can do so much on the school budget and number of coaches.
"We have been doing everything diligently, but you can't control when they leave here," Nason said.
Franklin Parish's first game now will be October 9 against LaSalle. That game will be Franklin Parish's Homecoming game.
“We do have an ongoing COVID related item,” Gullatt said. “It is being handled. It is one of these things that are going to take place in my opinion weekly, if not daily in our parish and throughout the state.”
Gullatt said schools should expect hinderances as more students start coming back to schools.
“As we accept more kids and more extracurricular activities take place, we will deal with more items such as this and statewide we will deal with more items such as this,” Gullatt said.
Meanwhile, School Boards members are reviewing a contract that would possibly allow Restoration of the Old Baskin High School Building to begin renovation to the 93-year-old building.
Baskin school building is in dire shape after not being used on a regular basis for 15 years. Water damage caused by incomplete roof work in 2009 has led to major damage in the auditorium, and the majority its windows are broken and bricks are missing.
Built in 1926, the two-story brick building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 on merits of its architecture and place in regional social history. Some 95,000 American properties have been placed the National Register of Historic Places since its inception in 1966.
In 2009, Louisiana Trust for Historical Preservation (LTHP) donated money to the Franklin Parish School Board for the building’s preservation. The School Board agreed not to demolish the building for 10 years. On August 10, the 10 years were complete.
Members of the group are Justin Lord, committee chairman; Kathryn Olivo, secretary; Angie Pierce, treasurer and Mandy Moroni, coordinator.
Additionally, Gullatt said school buildings only received minor roof damage in recent hurricanes. There was damage to the cafeteria roof at Baskin School, roof damage at Winnsboro Elementary, Fort Necessity and Gilbert schools.