LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The families of roughly 2,000 charter school students in Southwest Louisiana have anxiously awaited reopening plans. Local education leaders are mapping out a plan to bring students ‘safely back to school’.
Lake Charles Charter Academy, Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy and Lake Charles College Prep make up the charter system in Southwest Louisiana.
Lake Charles Charter Academy’s principal Dr. Pamela Quebodeaux says out of the 950 students enrolled, right now, they’re expecting about half to show up for in-person classes in the fall.
”The way it looks right now approximately 45 percent of families are choosing virtual and we don’t have all final numbers. That’s a higher number than we were anticipating but we’re making adjustments accordingly,” Quebodeaux said.
Quebodeaux says there’s no right or wrong answer as parents make decisions about sending their children to school when doors reopen.
“Our children need their education and our teachers are ready to teach and we plan to do this in whatever way, shape, or form that we can,” said Quebodeaux. “Creating plans that allow for virtual learning, face to face instruction — a combination of the two or if families choose — an all remote option as well,”
Charter Schools Board of Trustees President, Gene Thibodeaux says the plan is to have K through 6th-grade students return to school five days a week, in-person. 7th through 12th-grade students will have alternating schedules with two days in class and three days of virtual learning. Parents will have the option of choosing an all-virtual schedule.
“There’s a degree of apprehension out there, there are uncertainties and unknowns...if they had to express a preference, it’s in school instruction. We’re trying to reconcile the health concerns with the educational prerequisites and prerogatives,” Thibodeaux said.
In accordance with the C-D-C and the Louisiana Board of Secondary Education, he says they are working to gather all the tools they’ll need to meet the needs of every student and faculty member.
”We have in many instances purchased plexiglass dividers. We have the typical mask and sanitizers. We’re going to maximize the space between persons. We have provisions for perhaps substitute teachers in the case that a teacher becomes infected with the virus,” said Thibodeaux.
The first day of school for students at Lake Charles Charter Academy and Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy is scheduled for August 24.
High school students attending Lake Charles College Prep will return to class on August 20.
Administrators say the full reopening plan will be disseminated as soon as possible, pending board approval.