Delta damage introduces new challenges to school calendars and virtual learning

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VERMILION PARISH, La. (KLFY) Hurricane Delta has taken out trees, homes, and electricity, but it’s also taken days off school calendars. With 2020 already providing its own hosts of problems in the classroom,

News ten’s Neale Zeringue traveled to Vermilion Parish to see what its school system is doing to get students learning again.

Superintendent Tommy Byler said there are about 20 different issues at 20 different schools, but one of the most worrisome at North Vermilion High where the roof is damaged and the structural integrity of the building could have been altered which might cause a problem once children return to the classroom.

“This right here is the scary part,” Byler said leaning over the corner of the roof with bricks peeling off the side of North Vermilion High. It is just one of the challenges Vermilion Parish Schools are facing after Hurricane Delta. Shingles, breezeways, windows, and even basketball goals took the hit.

“It’s par for the course in 2020. It’s just another set of problems another set of distractions, but as a school system we’ve just got to keep trucking forward,” Byler said.

Monday, he announced students won’t return to the classroom until Thursday, but that’s dependent on electricity and repairs. Nine schools were without power Monday, and about half of teachers were without electricity, delaying virtual learning to later days.

“We still have 2,000 kids in virtual school, and we already had spotty internet access in the rural areas,” Byler admitted. “What is this going to do to that program? Not certain.”

The district is waiting for a state announcement before they make adjustments to the school calendar. Byler spoke to superintendents in surrounding districts and said, sadly, they will lose further instructional time in an already reduced schedule. He understands parents who are anxious for students’ return but stressed health and safety first.

“It’s not a normal year. We’re going to have to make the necessary adjustments from the best interest of our kids, but we’re going to continue pushing our kids,” Byler concluded. “We’re not slacking off. We will make the necessary adjustments in the time it’s necessary to make them.”

Even though children are returning to the classroom Thursday in Vermilion Parish, not everything will be the same. For example, the glass blew out at the special education building, so all those teachers and students are having to be moved, multiple things were thrown out, and repairs are expected even after children are back in the classroom.

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