NEW IBERIA, La (KLFY) — Acadiana schools are once again preparing for a new school year at the peak of a pandemic. Iberia, Evangeline, and Vermilion Parishes all welcome students to the classroom Wednesday.
The halls are empty currently at Westgate High and 22 other schools in Iberia Parish as teachers prepare to receive their students. Just like last year, masks are mandatory, but unlike in 2020, all students will be able to return on day one.
“We have some experience with these COVID protocols. It’s still going to be some getting used to with having all students in the building,” explained. Westgate Principal Neely Moore.
She said fewer of her students are choosing virtual learning in 2021. Reestablishing in-person learning is one of the school district’s goals, and Superintendent Carey Laviolette insists a safe environment will promote it.
“We are really focused on our safety because as you know, the test score came back recently, and it was very discouraging to see that we had some decline in our student performance, so we know that has to be first and foremost in our efforts,” Laviolette said.
Although no additional virus prevention measures such as elective student COVID testing will be implemented on day one, educators are keeping the discussion open in case the next coronavirus hotspot goes back to school.
“We have a good foundation based on what we did last year, so we’re going to start from there because that’s what we know, and then if we need to tweak it over the next of couple days, then we’ll make those changes,” Moore stated.
To help with missed education time and the gap created two years ago, there will be 20-minute intervention sessions every day tailored for each student to help either prepare them for the next step or remediate what they missed.
“That’s why we’re here. It’s for the students,” Moore concluded. “We’re going to push like this school year just like we did last year and any other school year, so whatever challenges we face, we’re ready and we’re going to get it done.”