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Incoming EBR Schools superintendent talks upcoming school year, fall sports

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BATON ROUGE - The new superintendent for East Baton Rouge Schools is giving parents a slightly better idea of what school and sports may look like in less than a month.

Superintendent-elect Leslie Brown will officially start in her new position just three days before the official start date for EBR schools, which is August 6.

Over the weekend, the school system released two possible models for this upcoming school year, both of which involve more online learning and less time in the classroom.

According to Brown, that could also mean virtually no time on the playing field for student-athletes.

"The calendar for sports events will likely be pushed back,” Brown said.

Some students in EBR have been busy with modified summer conditioning because of COVID-19. While practices may continue, Brown says actual games and matches will likely not start as scheduled.

"We certainly would not start any competition without making sure that there's an appropriate runway of appropriate conditioning, as well as all the protocols set up, similar to what we do during the school day in a classroom. All of those things would need to be in place and sanctioned by the health department, CDC and certainly the Louisiana High School Athletic Association,” Brown said.

Student-athletes and all students Pre-K through 12th grade will likely use some form of hybrid learning when classes start in less than a month.

Option one laid out by EBR Schools says that students would begin classes virtually, with the possibility of coming back to campus for two days a week starting Sept. 9. Option two would include students starting in-person classes on Aug. 6 under the hybrid model. Again, that would include two days of in-person classes and three days of virtual learning for most students.

Things like temperature checks, face masks and spread out classrooms will become the norm no matter how many students are on campus. The Louisiana Department of Education released its recommendations and guidelines for schools to follow in late June. Those recommendations vary depending on what phase of reopening the state is currently in.

"We really believe that we can very safely open the grades 6 to 12 in the hybrid model. And we are still evaluating specifically those plans of operational conditions that would allow us to do that. And we also are taking a look at our Pre-K to 5th-grade students, trying to broaden the number of days per week that those students would be able to attend,” Brown said.

Brown says administrators want to make sure all students, working either online or in person, are learning at the same pace. She adds that the school system and individual schools will be adjusting the hybrid model as they see fit.

"We know that our answers are flexible and they will change over time,” Brown said.

The EBR School System is still taking parent feedback and working on plans for things like transportation and school meals. There will also be an orientation when school kicks off where parents can pick up devices for students and learn more about the remote learning requirements.

Parents can expect an exact decision on the reopening plan about two weeks before August 6. Regardless of the decision, Brown says there will be a completely online option for parents who don't want to send their kids back to the classroom yet.


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