New spike in viruses adds uncertainty to school year

Staff Reports
Superintendent Dr. Arthur Joffrion

The latest spike in coronavirus cases has sparked additional uncertainty on what direction the state will take on school openings, as well as overall restrictions.

A spike of more than 7,000 cases in the past week coincides with a huge jump in states across the southern region.

School systems in the area have planned for a combination of distance learning and traditional campus settings for class this fall. To what extent school systems implement instruction will depend largely on how the increase in case totals steer the state’s mitigation efforts.

Each school district across Louisiana will ultimately decide how to operate, but guidelines cover how to prepare for three possible reopening scenarios – traditional, hybrid or distance/remote learning, according State Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley.

A move back to Phase 1 – which includes “shelter in place” mandates – would bring all instruction to a virtual format. Phase 3 would send schools back to the traditional classroom settings, although some guidelines would likely remain intact.

The total number of cases across Louisiana has increased by more than 6,000 cases over the last eight days. The number of positive cases Monday reached 66,327, an increase of 1,111 from Sunday, according to Louisiana Department of Health statistics.

The hospitalization totals reached 964 Monday, the largest count since May. Ventilator use for patients has reached 109.

In Iberville Parish, officials have already worked on plans on how to carry out classes during the pandemic.

Even with blueprint for the next school year, nothing is definite, Superintendent Dr. Arthur Joffrion said.

“There’s still so much unknown,” he said.

The school system will offer parents the option of virtual classes, and alternate schedules for high school students could also figure into the mix.

The final decisions will come after a committee meeting set for July 9.