Schools plan to open in the fall

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Plans can always change

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As of now, the state is planning to allow schools to reopen in the fall with students on campus. Despite the fact that the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise and Governor John Bell Edwards declined to move the state into Phase 3 of reopening last week.

Newly-appointed Union Parish School District Superintendent attended a state superintendent’s meeting last week where guidance was given on reopening.

“The state has specific guidelines for reopening, from a health standpoint,” Fine said. “We’ve taken that and we are bringing our plans to the final stages now.”

Those plans include a survey to parents and employees. The parent survey can be found on the district website by going to the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeW_OFaOZJUmLYeTT1uYIP-w0M_efPw-hbl3MP4PJaiei-B7YHw/viewform

The survey asks questions about a variety of topics. Many have to do with social distancing and masks. Mainly the district office is trying to determine if parents:

• Want their kids back in school on campus

• Want there to be mandatory masks

• Want their kids to participate in extra curricular activities

• Need transportation

• Need meal assistance

• Have the technology and supervision available if the child isn’t going to be on campus

The survey is due back to the district by Friday.

“We are going to try to finalize our plans at a special school board meeting July 20 or 21,” said Fine. “We know there’s a fear of sending kids back to school. We also know we’re going to have to provide a virtual option.”

Transportation could be a nightmare when schools reopen. “There will be a 50 percent occupancy rule,” Fine said. “We have to know who doesn’t need bus transportation so we can plan for this.” Running early routes and/or double routes is not an option for the district Fine also said.

“I participated in the meeting figuring we would be behind with me on the job less than a week, Fine said. “But no one is prepared. This pandemic keeps changing our situation constantly. No one really knows what to prepare for.

The next regular meeting of the UPSB takes place via Zoom at 6 p.m. Monday.