Vastly different school year will begin August 17
The starting date for Washington Parish schools has been changed from August 7 to August 17.
Administrators, teachers, parents, and most especially students are making final preparations before an extremely unusual school year begins in Washington Parish two weeks from now. Public schools will re-open on August 6 and Bowling Green will re-open on August 7.
Students were last in class on Friday, March 13, when they received the sudden news that Gov. John Bel Edwards was closing all schools in the state for a month because of Coronavirus. The news created havoc for many families, especially if both parents worked. But it was just for a month, so most families found a way to make it work.
However, the expected month turned into months, and schools never re-opened for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. When the new school year starts the first week of August, it will be the first time in five months that classes have been in session.
But for the public schools of Washington Parish, the new school year will be far from normal. Students will actually only be in class for two days a week, and for the rest of the week they will be engaged in virtual learning via internet connections with their teachers. Public school students will go to class either on Mondays and Wednesdays, or on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays will be reserved for deep cleaning of all schools and for teacher preparation.
How long this strange schedule will continue solely depends on how quickly the state manages to get in control of the Coronavirus situation. If the rate of infections and deaths is reduced sharply, school administrators look for a return to a traditional school schedule later this year. On the other hand, if Coronavirus in Louisiana stays the same or gets worse, students will stay on the Monday-Wednesday, Tuesday-Thursday schedule.
Bowling Green will begin classes on Friday, August 7, and principal Beverly Young said the school will have a traditional setting and a traditional schedule. She said that class sizes are small enough that the school will be able to maintain safe social distancing. Additional faculty members have been hired, she said, to help keep class sizes small.
“We are blessed to be able to run school safely in Phase 2. The protocols and procedures will be in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and the Louisiana Department of Education,” Mrs. Young said.
There will also be ongoing uncertainty about this fall’s football season at the public schools. As of now, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association has prohibited contact practice and games, but that could change as the season gets closer if Coronavirus numbers start looking better. Meanwhile, Bowling Green will have its traditional football season, but Mrs. Young said that additional precautions will be taken to address safety.