Livingston Parish schools back in session Friday, many upset with hybrid learning model
LIVINGSTON- The Livingston Parish School Board met on Thursday evening for a routine meeting amid pleas from parents who are pushing for their children to get back in the classroom full time.
Starting Friday, Aug. 7, students will begin with the hybrid model under the school systems Phase Two of reopening. However, some are not happy with the hybrid learning model.
Some parents decided to take matters into their own hands and speak their minds at the meeting.
Lana Gregory works as a nurse in the parish. She has a fourth-grader and second-grader who will be returning to school for the first time in months from his home.
Her second grader will start back in the classroom five days a week under a traditional learning model.
All students in third grade through twelfth grade will go to school two to three times each week through a rotating hybrid model that is split into two groups.
Gregory believes the hybrid model will put a strain on working parents like her, as well as the students.
"They need to have that normality. Some of these kids need that structure," Gregory said. "As far as the class sizes, why are we going to hybrid if the average class size at my child's school in the third and fourth grade is 20? So, why are we doing hybrid?"
The Louisiana Department of Education set a minimum requirement that no more than 25 people can be in a single classroom under Phase Two.
"I am a firm believer that a child learns best when they're in school. I agree with that 100 percent, but the problem that we're having is that we're being dictated as far as phases. And unfortunately, because of our size, Livingston Parish is so large, and because the phase that we're having to do the best we can," school board member Kellee Hennessy Dickerson said.
Gregory says she is looking at other parishes plans, like Ascension, who are bringing more students back right away.
"Our surrounding parishes, a lot of them, are doing K through five. They're sending K through 5 back," Gregory said.
For now, Livingston plans to stick with the hybrid learning model. Gregory added they do appreciate the time and effort the school board has put in to crafting a plan for an ever-evolving situation.
"We want the school board also to know that we're here, that we're going to help. We're supporting them, we're supporting the teachers, but we also want some fairness as well," Gregory said.
Superintendent Joe Murphy released a statement following the meeting Thursday night:
"We certainly understand that some of our parents have concerns and we respect the right of all our parents to express those concerns as they advocate for their children," Murphy said. "Livingston Parish Public Schools will open tomorrow with the reopening plan we have presented, as Louisiana is in Phase 2 of recovery. As we move forward, LPSS is committed to reviewing our reopening plan and making adjustments within the guidelines."
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