August 13, 2020 Update

Dear Ascension Public Schools Families,

This has been a very special week! We have experienced many successes, but most importantly, we have overcome some challenges and obstacles together. Thank you for answering the call of patience and support. 
Our teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, librarians, and all instructional support personnel have done a phenomenal job of making this a successful week for students. They have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to provide services to children. Their work is the beginning of what will be another productive year for students in Ascension to grow academically, in spite of all these new routines we are all having to get accustomed to. And, I know our teachers will agree the support they have received from their administrators has been second to none. In addition, services from transportation and child nutrition have operated with great effort to ensure successful operations.

We all know there exists a lot of support around all these direct services to students. Without the work of our school nurses, technology, maintenance, supply chain, human resources, business services, and ongoing support from our public information office, we would not have been able to successfully prepare and execute our plan to reopen, nor could we have been able to overcome the various unexpected challenges that emerged each day. And, as mentioned above, the support we received from you, our community of parents and families, providing encouragement, exerting patience, and giving us useful feedback was critical to the success we have all experienced to this point. 
Recently, State Superintendent Cade Brumley shared his observations about school districts reopening across Louisiana. "A handful of Louisiana systems welcomed students back last week. This week, more systems are reopening their doors to children. As we learned during a call with system leaders this past Friday, schools reopened last week without any major disruptions. Medical professionals from the Louisiana Department of Health and Ochsner joined us on the call. They were complimentary of the steps educators are taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. There will be challenges as you begin the school year. If COVID-19 is present in your community, it will likely be present in your schools," said Brumley.
We do know that COVID-19 remains in communities throughout Louisiana and here in Ascension Parish. We continue to commit to ensuring that we respond quickly to confirmed cases of individuals that are in our school buildings, work with the Office of Public Health and their staff and physicians, identify and notify close contacts, and provide a general message to the school’s community, faculty, and staff. Although we all realize we cannot prevent COVID-19 from being brought to work or school, we are confident that the effort we make each day to follow the guidelines and procedures as recommended by multiple medical experts will minimize and possibly prevent any spread of the virus within a school building. As mentioned in a previous message, any decision to temporarily close schools or individual classrooms will be a collaborative effort between state health officials, our school board, and district leadership.
Please continue to help us by:
  • Monitoring your child for symptoms EACH day along with at-home temperature screening. Please do not send your child to school if there are any signs of illness or elevated fever.
  • Continue to encourage your child to wear their face covering. We are all so very grateful for the support and encouragement you have provided up to this point on the matter of face coverings. Please continue to help us with this important safety measure.  
We know that we have not yet overcome all of the challenges ahead. We expect to have to overcome inconveniences each day. Transporation will have obstacles, technology will not always function as planned, and instructional services will experience challenges, all despite a tremendous amount of planning and effort. However, we continue to be grateful for this successful start. Your patience, your support, and your feedback will be very important as we move forward. 
David Alexander
Ascension Public Schools