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A.E. Phillips announces fall school plan

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A.E. Phillips Laboratory School will allow students to attend class in person or take advantage of virtual learning from home when the school year begins next month.

In guidance issued to parents last week, Director Jenny Blalock outlined the measures AEP will take to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus for those who attend on campus, as well as the availability of devices and online lessons for those who stay home.

“As more information is shared and you take time to consider each option and reflect on what is best for your family, please know we will soon ask for a commitment from each family for the first nine weeks,” Blalock said in the announcement.

Both options will follow the Lincoln Parish public school schedule, which recently changed the first day of school from Aug. 14 to Aug. 19.

Unlike the school district, AEP will not implement an alternating or rotating schedule for its junior high students.

“Because of our small class sizes, outdoor hallways, and low number of students riding the bus, we believe we can meet safety requirements with all attending school,” Blalock said.

All students age 8 and older, as well as all faculty and staff, will be asked to wear a mask, face shield or buff. The school is looking into the possibility of providing face coverings with the AEP logo on them.

To align with the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s minimum requirements, class sizes will be limited to 25 including the teacher. All electives will still be offered in person, but at least at the time of reopening, any extracurricular activity that requires gatherings of more than 25 people won’t be able to take place.

“As each club activity or sports season nears, we will make decisions regarding each,” Blalock said.

The school is performing before-school cleaning of all facilities in July and August and will continue to perform weekly and monthly deep cleanings.

Meanwhile, students who opt for distance learning will be able to check out devices on which to do their schoolwork if needed. AEP secured additional devices over the summer using some of the $136,918 in COVID-19 relief funds it received from the federal government via the CARES Act.

AEP teachers are currently completing training on Google’s suite of online products preparing lesson plans and videos for online learning.

Unlike the sudden switch to online learning in the spring, during which most classes in schools across the parish did not take grades, accountability for AEP’s virtual learning this fall will be similar to inperson classes. Grades and attendance will be taken.

“I remain confident that this school year will continue to make you proud to be part of the Bullpup family as we successfully navigate the challenges we face,” Blalock said to parents.