WATCH: Superintendent for BR Catholic schools discusses returning students to classrooms in August
BATON ROUGE - Students will return to schools under the Baton Rouge Diocese in August with changes in day-to-day operations to account for the coronavirus.
According to the statement from the diocese, students will be back in class in early August in compliance with state regulations. The diocese says it expects new requirements on campus to include "face masks for students and staff, increased regular handwashing and cleaning practices, and appropriate social distancing."
The diocese released a video with Superintendent Melanie Palmisano discussing the decision with Deacon Dan Borne.
Students will also be barred from playing on playground equipment or engaging in any contact sports during recess. Lunches will either be delivered to the classroom so students can eat at their desks, or lunches will be grab-and-go, with students either returning to the class to eat or perhaps eating outside in picnic style, depending on the weather.
The diocese says it will offer online class options but will partner with parents to work out those details on a case-by-case basis.
You can read the full statement from Baton Rouge Diocese below.
"Schools in the Diocese of Baton Rouge are scheduled to open in early August.
Start dates for all diocesan, parochial and private schools which are part of the Catholic schools district are listed on the Catholic Schools Office website at https://www.csobr.org/
Schools began communicating this week with faculty, staff and parents outlining the specifics of each school’s plan to open.
Protocols are being tailored to each school’s individual needs. There is no “one size fits all” protocol, though all schools must follow guidelines set by the Louisiana Department of Education. These include the maximum number of people in a classroom to assure proper space for social distancing.
School officials have been getting advice from consultants from Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, who are visiting each school and offering recommendations on things like classroom configurations, how to address recess and lunch and best practices for walking the hallway between classes.
School start and end times will be determined by each school, with an attempt to keep those times as normal as possible. Schools may have to stagger intake times to help parents with carpool traffic if public school bus service is not immediately available because of the pandemic.
Protocols for students entering school buildings will vary, but all schools will have a method verifying each student is entering a healthy space. Parents might have to log into the school’s app in the morning and answer a series of health-related questions. Some schools could possibly have daily temperature checks of all students.
Recess will also have a different look as students will not be allowed to play on the equipment or engage in any contact sports. Lunches will either be delivered to the classroom so students can eat at their desks, or lunches will be grab-and-go, with students either returning to the class to eat or perhaps eating outside in picnic style, depending on the weather.
Some Louisiana public school systems are offering online class options, but Catholic schools in our diocese will partner directly with parents on such requests. It is important for students to have social interaction at school for their holistic development, so the ideal is for students to return to classrooms and develop relationships with teachers and their peers. However, if a need arises that warrants online learning support, Catholic schools are ready to consider that as a solution for individual situations."