Phase 3 loosens barriers for public school system

Staff Report

The state’s move into Phase 3 of the reopening in the coronavirus pandemic marks an important juncture for the Iberville Parish School System, according to Superintendent Arthur Joffrion.

The move into Phase 3 after four months in Phase 2 will at least loosen the restrictions the Louisiana Department of Education and state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education put in place during the summer for students to return in school.

Iberville Parish School Superintendent Dr. Arthur Joffrion

“It’s a step toward normalcy,” Joffrion said.

Phase 3 will increase capacity from 25 to 50 under the state regulations, although no classrooms in the Iberville Parish schools have that many students.

It will also open the door to face-to-face learning for seventh and eighth graders, along with a move from two days to three days a week for in-class instruction for grades 9-12.

Schools will also expand congregate feeding, although most has been non-congregate, either in classrooms or on the school grounds.

“We may set up partitions in the cafeterias and even the gyms in schools the expand the congregate settings,” Joffrion said.

The protocol changes at the same time the school system has taken measures to notify the public of any COVID cases or quarantines on school campuses.

The school system has begun posting weekly totals of students and employees who either tested positive or have gone on quarantine.

For the week of Aug. 17-21, three students tested positive from community exposure, along with four employees – three from community exposure.

The following week, one student tested positive, along with two employees, and several were quarantined because of those cases.

For Aug. 31 through Sept. 4, no students tested positive, but 12 were quarantined due to community exposure. No employees tested positive that week, but one was quarantined due to community exposure.

“We put the numbers online because I felt it was important to be transparent, and we got Facebook notices asking about the numbers, so we just started putting them on our website.,” Joffrion said.