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Durrett: Schools handling return to everyday class

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Students in grades 7-12 in Lincoln Parish public schools returned to an everyday in-person class schedule last week, a change that Superintendent Ricky Durrett said the schools are keeping up with well so far.

“Right now it’s going pretty good,” Durrett said Monday. “We’ve got a few more teachers that are close contacts this week. But we’ve added a few people to the sub list, so we’re still able to get classes covered.”

It was the substitute teacher situation that originally prompted the secondary schools to go back into the alternating “AB” schedule — with one group on campus and one group learning virtually each day — for two weeks before the holiday break and two weeks afterward.

A high volume of teachers either in isolation for contracting COVID-19 or in quarantine for being a close contact to a positive case following the Thanksgiving holiday, plus a shortage of substitutes willing to take assignments, necessitated that temporary switch back to the AB format so that full-time teachers could cover for one another on the days in which they had no in-person students of their own.

But now Durrett said he believes schools are “over that hump” of holiday exposure, and the numbers are more sustainable for everyday class.

“Every weekend, we have a few every Monday morning who have become a close contact or something, but that’s to be expected,” he said. “It’s kind of a week-to-week thing, but right now we feel good about where we’re at.”

As district officials have maintained since the start of the school year, Durrett said the majority of exposure that teachers and students have to COVID-19 has happened in social events outside the classroom. “It’s almost safer

“It’s almost safer just to be in school everyday,” he said. “We know that’s the best way to educate kids, so that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

Each Friday officials evaluate the expected status of available staff at schools for the following week. Durrett said while the situation must continue to be monitored, he hopes to avoid having to change the everyday schedule again.

“We’re just trying to have school every day and see if we can make it,” he said.