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Hybrid classes end, face-to-face school back in Iberville

Staff Report

Hybrid models are now a thing of the past – barring unforeseen circumstances – for public schools across Iberville Parish.

Students in grades 9-12 completed the transition back to face-to-face learning five days a week on campuses across the parish after two months in which students attended class on campus and took courses from home over the course of a school week.

The transition went into full effect Monday. It had been slated to kick off on Friday, Oct. 9, but parish wide school closures due to Hurricane Delta pushed those plans back one school day.

Iberville Parish School Superintendent Dr. Arthur Joffrion

“The transition seems to be going extremely smooth thus far,” Iberville Parish School Board Superintendent Dr. Arthur Joffrion said Monday. “This marks the end of the hybrid models in the school system.”

Remote learning for Pre-K through 12th grade students will continue until the board phases it out at the end of December.

The Iberville Virtual Learning will remain an option for those who are not comfortable for face-to-face instruction, Joffrion said.

The preference leans overwhelmingly in favor of the face-to-face format, based on figures the superintendent presented to the Iberville Parish School Board at its Monday night meeting.

Of the 4,500 students enrolled in Iberville Parish public schools, 3,518 of them receive face-to-face instruction, while 896 receiver virtual instruction.

A total of 832 public school students engage in remote learning, in which they log into an actual classroom. Meanwhile, 152 students continue to attend through the Iberville Virtual Learning Academy.

The transition back to the traditional format not only helps the students. It also makes the job for teachers across the parish, Joffrion said.

“Our teachers have done an amazing job balancing face to face and remote learning, so we couldn’t be more pleases with what they accomplished but want to reduce load of doing those two simultaneously,” he said.

The school system dodged bullets on COVID cases, which have been minimal among students and faculty.

Since the opening of schools on Aug. 17, eight of the 4,504 students in the Iberville Parish School System tested positive for the coronavirus.

The student exposure to COVID came from communal settings and not from the school grounds, Joffrion said.

Seven employees also tested positive.

The school system will continue the mitigation protocol outlined in Phase 3. The protocol includes wearing face masks, handwashing and sanitation.

Funding through the federal CARES Act allowed school systems throughout Louisiana to purchase shields and other safeguarding equipment.

The school system also hired an additional school nurse and purchased additional sanitation equipment.

Schools throughout the parish have also put “housekeepers” to more work on the campuses. Most of them work four hours a day, but some now work eight hours to assist with meal deliveries and help with the additional sanitation work in school cafeterias.

“It has been an extreme focus for employees, school leaders and everyone at central office because protection of employees and students is very critical, so wanted to make sure we had everything in place,” Joffrion said. “It’s a burden for everyone.”