ST. MARTIN, La. - While many parishes in Acadiana are starting school on a different day there's one thing they all have in common. Even more so it's not just the schools in Acadiana but in the entire state.
Every single school district in Louisiana has planned for in person learning this year. I spoke with St. Martin Parishes Superintendant to see how he's handling the transition.
"We can operate safely if we follow the guidelines. Studen'ts can spread out and be atleast 3 feet apart and ofcourse they do have to wear the mask. We are following the states guidlines when it comes to sanitation," said Blanchard. With those safety guidelines in place Blanchard says schools in his parish kept transmission rates down lower then 1%.
Some of those safety guidelines include following the Governor's mask mandate and running buses at 100% capacity provided everyone wears a mask. As well as a detailed plan for getting students to and from class, lunch and their car or bus. Finally, remaining three feet apart at all times. He adds that majority of the contact tracing came from outside the schools.
The Louisiana Association of Superintendants says the decison made for all schools to learn in person is a good idea but not everyone feels that way.
"It should be a persons choice," said Simoneaux.
Isabella Simoneaux has been home schooled her entire life and finds it more helpful to learn from her mother.
"It's easier to get through the day. She knows who I am and she's more patient with me than the average public school teachers," said Simoneaux.
"When students are struggling we do have things like RTI in place to help them to catch up and get back on track. We also offer some tutoring programs," said Blanchard.
I said, "a lot of parents have concerns about our constant surge in postive COVID cases ... our 4th surge looks a like our 2nd in which the 2020-2021 school year was disrupted."
One Louisiana resident tells me she has a grandson who just started private school. She says at the end of the day parents are the ones who know what's best for their kids but adds that human interaction is vital. Especially since LEAP scores have dropped.
"Kids unfortunatley have other factors that make them more vulnerable but a normal healthy child? i don't see why they can't be in school," said a Louisiana resident.
Districts are offering virtual learning but only if it's a medical necessity. The leading criteria is the child must have successfully passed all of thier courses last year.
It's without a doubt that the topic of virtual and in person learning will be debated for a while. One interesting fact, last year more than 150,000 kids across the state finished school online.