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WBR Schools working to go virtual regardless of students going back to class in Fall

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PORT ALLEN – With the 2019/2020 school year ending in West Baton Rouge Parish, the school board is now focusing on the next school year. 

Even if kids will be allowed to return to class come August, Superintendent Wesley Watts says there will be some sort of virtual school as an option.

“We will be prepared to have virtual school, distance learning no matter what,” Watts said.

The adjustments are already in the works.

“We're actually working on building a video library, we will also have live instruction so we're building a true distance learning model,” Watts said.

Back in mid-March, schools closed in Louisiana, forcing students to continue their education at home due to coronavirus precautions. It’s not clear what will be allowed for the next school year.

“There may be some parents that are still uncomfortable sending their kids back to school. We need to be prepared to educate those students,” Watts said.

Watts says the best option would be to have all of the students return to class in the fall. 

“I can't wait to see our kids back on campus, there is something about that. There's an energy to that that you can't create virtually," Watts said.

But with some classrooms having a high headcount, that may not be the safest option. Watts says going virtual, even if it's not fully needed, will be beneficial.

“Sometimes a kid gets sick for three or four days. We'll be better prepared to provide instruction for that student who isn't here, versus in the past what you had to do is the student had to catch up,” Watts said.

To make this possible, West Baton Rouge Schools will be receiving funding from the Cares Act to provide every student with a Chromebook.

No final decision on what school will look like yet, but Watts ensures the decision will have the students' best interest in mind.

“Were going to have school safely, whatever that may look like,” Watts said.

Starting next week, the school board is going to send out a survey to parents asking them what would be the best option for them if social distancing is still encouraged.

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