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First week of school continues with students in EBR, surrounding areas returning to classes

2 years 9 months 2 weeks ago Wednesday, August 11 2021 Aug 11, 2021 August 11, 2021 4:32 AM August 11, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Early Wednesday morning, K-12 students in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Iberville, and Tangipahoa Parish are preparing for the first day of the 2021-2022 school year. 

The return to campus after summer vacation is a pivotal moment that educators and local school leaders have been planning for weeks. It serves as an opportunity for instructors to make vital connections with the students they'll be teaching throughout the remainder of the semester. 

But this school year, the first day also sets the stage for any COVID-related safety regulations students will need to adapt to as they move through the first few weeks of the semester. 

COVID Guidelines

According to East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Dr. Sito Narcisse, the health and safety of students will be a top priority in schools across the Parish.

This is why families of students were provided with masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes before school started, according to Dr. Narcisse. 

Before the start of the first day, he issued a statement regarding the new school year, saying, “We have followed the data, science and experts. Based upon the recommendations of our Health Advisory Committee, we are confident that we can continue to provide an excellent education for our students and a safe teaching environment for our staff. We know that the majority of our students and families are eager to return to a sense of normalcy, and we are confident that the following guidance allows them to do so safely.” 

EBR Schools says it intends to continue following a good bit of the guidance from the 2020-2021 school year, with the addition of some heightened mitigation and prevention methods.

For example, all students in kindergarten to 12th grade will be required to wear a mask in the school setting, and all children and staff will be required to wear masks when traveling on school busses.

In addition to this, EBR Schools will begin to offer free, periodic COVID-19 testing to staff and students, with parental consent.

Virtual Academy

While the majority of students are returning to in-person classroom instruction on campus, some students will learn virtually.

As of Wednesday, about 450 of EBR's more than 40,000 students will be attending classes virtually, according to Dr. Narcisse.

Click here for more information on EBR's Virtual Academy.

Innovative Technology, Teaching Methods at Jefferson Terrace Elementary

While some students are learning from home, others will be attending school with their peers.

One school that's found a host of creative ways to make learning fun for students is Jefferson Terrace Elementary School.

The school's principal, Zane Whittington, spoke with WBRZ's Dana DiPiazza Wednesday morning about some of the innovative techniques educators look forward to using throughout the semester. 

For example, thanks to a device called 'Lightspeed,' teachers at Jefferson Terrace will not have to resort to using "Teacher Voice," which involves raising one's voice to ensure they're heard above the din of a noisy classroom.

Lightspeed is a sound amplification system teachers wear around their necks; it allows them to speak in a normal tone and be heard by all in the vicinity.

The device also works as a two-way communication system, allowing teachers and students to converse individually from a safe distance. This later feature makes Lightspeed especially useful in classrooms where students are practicing social distancing due to COVID concerns.  

So, students who are working in a conference room, at a distance from their instructor, can still have conversations with their instructor. 

Another fascinating feature of the teaching methods utilized by Jefferson Terrace are the project-based learning areas that allow students to write on walls, desks, and cabinets.

Principal Whittington touched on these unique aspects of in-person instruction, saying, "A lot of what we just call regular furniture is whiteboard writable. So, students can use walls to write on, desks to write on, they can use cabinets to write on, and really anywhere within the space can be a project-based learning area."

Click here for more information on Jefferson Terrace Elementary. 

Share "First Day Moments" Online #Back2SchoolWBRZ 

As students settle into their new classes on this first day, amid adapting to COVID-related procedures is the excitement they'll find in making new friends and in allowing instructors to inspire them to set educational goals for the semester.

Proud parents who'd like to share photos, videos, or memorable moments from their child's first day of the 2021-2022 school year are welcome to do so on Twitter using the hashtag #Back2SchoolWBRZ 


Click here for more detailed information on updated COVID guidelines for East Baton Rouge Parish students.

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