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Capital area educators deem in-person learning safe and effective amid pandemic

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New CDC reports show that students returning to full in-person learning is safe if the right precautions are in place. 


"What we have found is that our campuses are not spreading the virus," says West Baton Rouge Parish Schools Superintendent, Wes Watts.


 Watts says his district can have school and have it safely, and the students remain a priority. 


"We really believed in the beginning that we could do this safely based on the investments we've made and the procedures we've put in place. Everyone said we would be shut down by Labor Day, but we have proven that our schools are a really safe place," said Watts.


The district opened up all of its schools to in-person learning in August. Only about 400 students remain virtual.


Watt's says some kids need to be in the classroom to thrive. 


"We see that the students that are virtual are struggling more academically. There are a couple of reasons for that. We had a little bit of learning loss in certain areas, but very minimal compared to what a lot of folks thought." 


Port Allen High School Principal, James Jackson, says learning online can be tricky and encourages parents to stay engaged.


"About 90% of our students are in person, and the other 10% are virtual," said Jackson.


Brusly High Principal, Walt Lemoine, says learning in person is safe because school COVID numbers have continued to remain low. 


"This week has been our best week since November. We only have about eight kids out because of contact tracing or COVID," said Lemoine.


Whether in person or at home, educators say schools are committed to providing the best education possible.


For East Baton Rouge Parish Schools, there's currently no plan to move all students to virtual learning. 
School leaders say they will continue to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, following all health and medical guidelines.


As for Ascension Parish, school officials say, “We have no current plans to change our current operations of serving students in-person, but at all times parents have the option to choose 100% virtual learning for their student.”

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