Beauregard Parish schools to reopen amid Laura recovery

Beauregard Parish schools to reopen amid Laura recovery
Beauregard Parish School Board (Source: Beauregard Parish School Board)

BEAUREGARD, La. (KPLC) - In the wake of Hurricane Laura, the Beauregard Parish School Board is making plans for the reopening of schools, as well as engaging in clean up and recovery to facilitate returning to school, according to Superintendent Timothy Cooley.

“Members of the Central Office team are working with Cotton Global Disaster Solutions and the BPSB insurance adjusters to begin restoring schools to working conditions,” Cooley said. “Some of our schools sustained more damage than others, but all schools will have repairs that need to be made.”

Stabilizing the environments through climate control and debris clean-up are the first priorities, which are underway at all facilities.

Generators and large circulation units were set up at South Beauregard Upper Elementary, South Beauregard High School, East Beauregard Elementary, and Carver Elementary to dehumidify schools that received heavy interior water damage.

The units were removed as electricity has been restored at each site.

SBHS - Climate control units were set up at four BPSB schools to dehumidify sites with heavy interior water damage.
SBHS - Climate control units were set up at four BPSB schools to dehumidify sites with heavy interior water damage. (Source: kplc)
MHS - A glass double-door and window entry were blown out during the hurricane at Merryville High School.
MHS - A glass double-door and window entry were blown out during the hurricane at Merryville High School. (Source: kplc)

The Central Office administration has developed a return-to-school plan which includes faculty and staff returning to campuses on Monday, September 21, 2020, and all students will continue virtual learning beginning Wednesday, September 23, 2020.

Students who are attending on site, will return to campuses on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. All students returning to campus will be attending a regular daily schedule at all schools, where possible, since Phase III of COVID-19 state guidance allows for flexibility to resume normal schedules, instead of the hybrid schedule.

Schools needing to make adjustments to a regular daily schedule will contact parents prior to September 30, and parents of students who are scheduled as full-time virtual students, who may want to change to in–person learning, may contact their school to facilitate the transition.

Beauregard Parish schools will continue to adhere to the face covering mandate as well as other Phase III guidelines for schools, including frequent hand washing, social distancing, temperature checks and frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces.

Students will have access to all 29 hotspots set up across the parish to access their assignments for virtual learning and to interact with their teachers. A list of hotspots can be found on the BPSB website under the Virtual Learning tab.

Parents may contact the school if there are special circumstances that need to be addressed concerning virtual learning beginning on Sept. 23, Cooley stated.

“We anticipate students will return to their regular school campus on the 30th, but several schools will be reconfiguring some procedures depending on what hurricane damage was sustained at that campus as well as consideration of the repair and mitigation progress,” Cooley said. “Schools will be in touch with parents and students with information of any significant changes in the regular procedures. Otherwise, parents can assume that regular procedures will be followed as closely as possible.”

The Central Office administration is working with the Louisiana Department of Education concerning time recovery for schools, and they will be making up days throughout the school year with as little disruption in the school calendar as possible.

The first make-up day will be Friday, October 9, 2020, as the fair has been cancelled.

Cooley says employees of the school board have been working diligently since the hurricane.

Bus drivers provided transportation to shelter sites in advance of the hurricane, and a group of employees was able to empty all refrigerator and freezer items from cafeterias and donate the food to the Red Cross.

Maintenance workers have been on school campuses patching breaches in walls and ceilings, removing debris, and working with electrical and mechanical issues.

Central Office administrators have all been assigned tasks related to recovery, including documentation of damages, receipt and documentation of donations, clean-up and recovery of non-damaged items. Assessment of needs like desks and computers to get schools up and running, along with working with the LDOE for time recovery, MFP issues and the many extra requirements to get the school system fully operational once again.

“We have made every effort to begin the recovery and clean-up process as quickly and efficiently as possible so that we could make a plan to return students and staff to school,” Cooley said. “There is much to be done, but we are working through the process one step at a time. We appreciate the support and patience of our employees, parents and students as we deal with the many issues necessary to reopen our schools.”

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