School Operations July 02, 2020 Update

Dear Ascension Public Schools Families,

Our schools and district leaders have been working on detailed plans for reopening schools and providing educational services this fall using the Louisiana Department of Education's guidelines released on June 25, 2020. There are many logistics that must be worked out such as classroom layout/assignments, student meal service, bus transportation, and online education options. We are using the feedback provided by parents in the survey sent on June 18th. These surveys help as we shape flexible education plans to meet the needs of over 23,000 students.
We plan to release more detailed plans to you by July 17th, but in the meantime please use the links below for an overview of what you can expect during the state's reopening phases.
In preparation for the return of students and staff, our maintenance and custodial staff have already taken many safety precautions. Earlier this year, our school district contracted with a company to treat all of our school buildings with a fogging/misting process that kills 99.99% of harmful microbes and protects all surfaces for 90 days. Click here to watch a video about this process. This treatment will be repeated before the start of school and throughout the year. In addition, the contractor will do checks each month to ensure the protections are still in place. Furthermore, we are disinfecting all school buses and putting regular cleaning protocols in place for buses, classrooms, and all high traffic areas in our facilities.
We are also installing water bottle fillers at school water fountains. This will ensure students have frequent access to clean water without compromising safety. Students can bring water bottles to school for this purpose.
Child Nutrition is preparing to serve student meals in modified formats - likely in some grab and go format to ensure minimal contact outside of classroom groups. Foodservice protocols may vary by school.
According to health officials, the most important safety message is frequent hand washing. We will provide students many opportunities to either wash hands or use hand sanitizer throughout the day.
Schools will be supplied with digital thermometers, which will allow for daily non-contact temperature screenings of all students by their first class period. Students with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be sent to the nurses office and may be sent home. It will be very important for parents to monitor their child's health on a daily basis by watching for symptoms of COVID-19, and it would be very helpful if parents took their child's temperature each morning. Do not send students to school if they have a temperature of 100.4 or above or after administering fever reducing medicine.
There are certainly some things you can do right now to prepare for the opening of school on Aug. 5, 2020, if you plan to send your child to school in our buildings.
  1. Get your child a face covering. The state strongly recommends students in grades 3-12 wear face coverings, especially during school arrival, dismissal and class exchanges. Face coverings should be school-appropriate, and you will receive additional information from your schools.
  2. Purchase school uniforms. When students are in our buildings, they will be subject to our normal dress code per the Student Handbook.
  3. Purchase school supplies. Students will need to be prepared for classroom work on day one. 
For those who are not comfortable returning to our buildings this fall for whatever reason, we still want to educate your child in an online environment. Ascension Public Schools has administered an online program since 2013 that maintains the educational excellence you know and expect from our school system. Along with our school opening plans, we will be rolling out very detailed information about how our online programs will look this year.
As always, we continue to be grateful for your partnership, because without your help and your support there is no way we would overcome the challenges ahead of us to serve the children of this community.
David Alexander
Ascension Public Schools