School Board extends start date for school year and virtual learning registration deadline, will hold Town hall meeting Tuesday night

The Natchitoches Parish School Board voted to change the start date for the 2020-2021 school year to Aug. 31. This took place at a special called teleconference meeting on July 24.

Many districts (15-20) have done this in some form or fashion. “We’ve seen increased Covid cases, but we have a lot of items we’re trying to order like cases for iPads so we can send them home for virtual school,” said Superintendent Grant Eloi. “These items are on backorder. Almost every district in every state is doing the same thing. We’re still waiting to get cameras for temperature checks and touch less water refill stations. Teachers also need more time to prepare so they can better learn Google Classroom and ensure that they’ll be able to keep students safe. We have major hurdles to overcome. People are scared and feel like they need more time to prepare…so we can truly have a strong start.”

The calendar that’s been created has teachers starting work on Aug. 24. Students would arrive on Aug. 31 for a soft start orientation (1/5 of all students on virtual and 1/5 face-to-face). Sept. 8 would be the full start date for virtual and face-to-face students. It also extends the school date so the last day for students would be June 3 and June 4 for teachers.

A draft of a calendar is included with this story. An official amended calendar will be released as soon as the calendar is finalized to reflect a few changes the board made to it during its July 24 meeting. They added Oct. 9 and 12 as additional days off.

Board member Billy Benefield read several comments that were submitted in advance of the meeting from parents and others expressing their opinions on whether postponing the start date is a good idea. Some felt it would give schools more time to prepare, some felt it wasn’t necessary, and some felt school should be held entirely in a virtual format.

Board Member Tankiea Palmer said she thought a safer option was to do virtual schooling 100% through the fall (flu season). She voted against the item to change the date for the start of school.

The Natchitoches Parish School Board voted to change the start date for the 2020-2021 school year to Aug. 31. This took place at a special called teleconference meeting on July 24.

Many districts (15-20) have done this in some form or fashion. “We’ve seen increased Covid cases, but we have a lot of items we’re trying to order like cases for iPads so we can send them home for virtual school,” said Superintendent Grant Eloi. “These items are on back order. Almost every district in every state is doing the same thing. We’re still waiting to get cameras for temperature checks and touch less water refill stations. Teachers also need more time to prepare so they can better learn Google Classroom and ensure that they’ll be able to keep students safe. We have major hurdles to overcome. People are scared and feel like they need more time to prepare…so we can truly have a strong start.”

The calendar that’s been created has teachers starting work on Aug. 24. Students would arrive on Aug. 31 for a soft start orientation (1/5 of all students on virtual and 1/5 face-to-face). Sept. 8 would be the full start date for virtual and face-to-face students. It also extends the school date so the last day for students would be June 3 and June 4 for teachers.

A draft of a calendar is included with this story. An official amended calendar will be released as soon as the calendar is finalized to reflect a few changes the board made to it during its July 24 meeting. They added Oct. 9 and 12 as additional days off.

Board member Billy Benefield read several comments that were submitted in advance of the meeting from parents and others expressing their opinions on whether postponing the start date is a good idea. Some felt it would give schools more time to prepare, some felt it wasn’t necessary, and some felt school should be held entirely in a virtual format.

Board Member Tankiea Palmer said she thought a safer option was to do virtual schooling 100% through the fall (flu season). She voted against the item to change the date for the start of school.

A Town Hall meeting to answer more community concerns will be held Tuesday, July 28 at 5 pm. The live stream will be located on the School Board’s Facebook page and the Natchitoches Parish Journal plans to share it on their account.

Questions can be emailed to townhall@nat.k12.la.us. Questions must pertain to the start of school or topics brought up during the meeting: Covid-19, back to school, home-based digital learning, start of school, etc…


One thought on “School Board extends start date for school year and virtual learning registration deadline, will hold Town hall meeting Tuesday night

  1. How and/or when can the upcoming Senior students get an original copy of their transcript? Need copy to submit to the Colleges applying for.

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