OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — Having learned new lessons in the COVID-19 era, the St. Landry Parish School Board’s 2022-23 vision is “focusing on reconnecting, rebuilding, and relationships.”

Superintendent Patrick Jenkins says COVID is not going away, but he admits it is time to move on and learn from the obstacles it brought educators and students.

St. Landry Parish students will begin the school year with a staggered “A”/”B” schedule. “A” students will start on Thursday, Aug. 11, while “B” students will start Friday, Aug. 12. All students will attend school on Monday, Aug. 15.

“If you’re not excited, you have to get excited,” said Jenkins. “Students are about to be here, almost 12,000 smiling faces in front you.”

But before teachers head back to the whiteboard and students to their desks, Jenkins says it is time to reset. For two years, COVID has been a headache inside and outside schools, but Jenkins is calling on everyone to adjust and move forward. He says the first way is to reconnect.

“We have to reconnect with the community, with our children, and educators,” he said “It is important that it takes place. We have to rebuild relationships in the community and rebuild our facilities to the best they can be.”

The last step is to work on — and take back — relationships inside school walls.

“It improves us academically. It lessens discipline referrals. It helps the morale of students and staff.”