LSU Lab School students returning to campus next week
BATON ROUGE – In just one week, students and teachers will be back at school on LSU’s campus. That is, at the University Laboratory School (ULS), a private school for children in grades kindergarten through 12.
Starting on Aug. 5, half of the 1,400 enrolled students will be on campus learning in classrooms and eating in the school cafeteria. ULS interim superintendent Dr. Amy Westbrook said, just like all other schools across the country, their goal this year is to balance safety and education.
When students walk through the school’s front doors, they’ll first be greeted with new safety protocols that are laid out by the Louisiana Department of Education due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Every day will begin with temperature checks and face-covering checks. And that will be at carpool and drop off,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook says that only 50 percent of the student body will be on campus on a given day, following the hybrid learning model of three days of virtual classes and two days of in-person classes.
The capacity limit will keep the school in line with the state's requirement of 25 students or less in a classroom, according to Westbrook. And she says that students can expect to spend a little more time in individual classrooms when they’re on campus.
“Our students will be directly welcomed into classrooms and learning spaces. They will not be congregating in hallways or any other places on campus. When they are in classrooms they will be spaced appropriately,” Westbrook said.
Spacing, or social distancing, will also be required in the school’s cafeteria during lunchtime, but Westbrook says students will be allowed to eat there.
“The students will be in there for a minimal amount of time. And the reason we choose this direction is to contain the spaces in our buildings where students are without masks. And to allow us to do targeted deep cleaning on a daily basis,” Westbrook said.
Those cleaning supplies are supplied by LSU’s Emergency Operation Center. The Lab School is under the university’s jurisdiction, so the school also has to follow specific protocols laid out by LSU.
“We were navigating duel guidelines and the university reviewed our plan and actually waived the requirement that we could only use 50% capacity for our classroom. And so that allowed us to align to the LDOE guidelines for at least phase three,” Westbrook said.
In all phases of the plan, ULS says that parents have the option of 100% virtual learning for their kids. Westbrook says a little over 2% of enrolled students have opted for that choice, so far.
ULS, like most other schools in Louisiana, are still waiting for more specific guidance from the state and from the LHSAA for things like sports, band practice and other extracurriculars.
Another change for students when they are on campus; they won’t be allowed to use the water fountains for drinking water. Instead, they are asking students to bring their own water bottles.
Click here to read ULS’s full reopening plan, including what parents should do if a student tests positive for COVID-19.