LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Only weeks separate students and teachers from returning the classroom, but a larger group of parents are opting for an entirely online experience this year.
The Lafayette Online Academy has already received roughly 7,000 applicants.
Students like Tehmi Chassion Jr. are signed up for the online education program for the upcoming school year while only 200 participated in 2019.
Tehmi’s father and school board member said the reason is COVID-19.
“I’m going to chose the Lafayette Online Academy for my kid because I can’t take the risk of him bringing it home,” Tehmi Chassion Sr., Lafayette Parish School Board member for District 4, said.
The deadline to sign up for the Lafayette online academy is Monday, August 3, by 4:30 p.m.
Parents applying to Lafayette Online Academy should receive an email or a notification with a link to the commitment form. If a parent does not receive an email or notification, it is the parent’s responsibility to contact the student’s school counselor to formally commit to the program.
“Is that student really motivated? Is that student an independent worker?” said Dr. Mark Rabalais, Lafayette Parish School System’s chief academic officer, said.
And that same question applies to parents, he said.
“Parents just need to understand there will not be a teacher teaching every day to their student in the Lafayette Online Academy,” Rabalais said.
But young Chassion Jr. said, a student, he sees thinks the adjustment won’t bee too difficult.
“It’s going to be just like a normal day of school but just online,” he said.
But for others without the time and means to keep up and ensure students are completing the work, the online program may be difficult.
Kindergarten through eighth-grade students can expect to work from five to six hours per day, on average, including short breaks. Ninth through twelfth-grade students can expect seven to eight hours per day.
“It’s truly overwhelming. It can be that ‘Hey sit the kid in front of the computer and okay lesson one, read it, learn it, take a quiz let’s go over some worksheets.’ Did they get it? somebody’s got to be there to be sure. Some folks just do not have the capabilities,” Chassion Sr. said
Parish teachers will monitor student’s progress, but only be available as needed.
For those who don’t have a secure internet connection or a device that can connect to it, LPSS is available to assist.
“One way or another we’re here to support our students. We’re here to support our parents and our families,” Rabalais said.
Chassion Sr. said it’s up to families to decide what works best for them.
“I don’t fault anyone who views it otherwise. I understand why some want to go to school, some don’t. There’s a lot of evidence in both categories,” the school board member said.