Cameron schools working again to reopen after another hurricane

Updated: Oct. 15, 2020 at 2:17 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Cameron Parish schools reopened successfully in August, but it lasted only a week before hurricanes Laura and Delta set things back.

Superintendent Charley Lemons says two schools had the most significant damage from Hurricane Laura – Hackberry and South Cameron.

While hurricane Delta hurled more challenges to their school reopening plan, Lemons says it only put them about five to seven days behind.

School officials did a quick overview of assessments and they will move into the reconstruction and repair phase to get schools to reopen as quickly as possible.

The school board has a virtual plan, but of course, that’s dependent on how quickly power can be restored to the area.

Chromebooks and hot spots are available for pickup at Grand Lake High School.

And Cameron Parish students are using this to learn, even though there’s damage all around them.

For Jessica Aguillard, school is the second home in which she wants her kids to find shelter.

“School’s supposed to be your safe place for your students and knowing that their homes are devastated, we want them to come back to school as soon as we can.”

Lemons is eager to give students an education – be it virtual or eventually, in person.

It’s what this community needs.

“The schools are the glue that holds the communities together, no doubt about it,” Lemons said. “Some of them, this is their safe haven. This is their safest place they can be in so it’s very important for us to get them back open and that’s what keeps these teachers, administrators, myself going every day to try to get them open.”

Lemons says while schools like Hackberry and South Cameron may take more time to reopen, those with minor damages will be utilized as soon as power is restored.

Face-to-face re-opening timelines by schools and grade levels:

· Johnson Bayou (PreK-12): Teachers return on 10/19, students return on 10/21

· Hackberry (PreK-5): Teachers return on 10/22, students return on 10/26

· Hackberry (6-12): Teachers and students will tentatively return at the end of November/beginning of December. Once we have a firm date, we will send out notifications of such.

· Grand Lake Elementary (PreK-6): Teachers return on 10/22, students return on 10/26

· Grand Lake High School (7-12): Teachers return on 11/5, students return on 11/9

· South Cameron (PreK-12): TBD-We are working on points of egress in order to be compliant with the State Fire Marshal’s office. With that being said, we are exploring options of the quickest, safest way to do so. We will have a tentative date on that re-opening by the beginning of next week.

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