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Bossier school superintendent: ‘Too soon’ for some decisions following order extending school closures

Local

BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Superintendent of Bossier Parish Schools says the district fully supports Gov. John Bel Edwards’ decision to close public schools statewide for the remainder of the school year, but that it is too soon to move forward with some of the decisions that will need to be made as a result.

RELATED: Gov. Edwards announces in-school instruction canceled for rest of academic year

“This is not the school year we could have ever envisioned,” Superintendent Mitch Downey said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “It has meant an abrupt end to our Class of 2020’s senior year, our athletes’ sports seasons and crowning moments, as well as every student’s daily routine, time with friends and teachers, and academic celebrations. However, Bossier Schools fully supports Governor Edwards’ decision because ensuring the health and safety of students and employees is, and always will be, our top priority.”

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, school superintendents and school board leaders had urged Edwards to keep schools closed, based on the continued rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control that indicates the state is more at risk if children and staff are introduced back into school facilities too soon.

RELATED: Caddo school district responds to Louisiana school closure for remainder of year

“As we gain clarity over these next several weeks of where we are as a state and nation in this global pandemic, our district will be able to make decisions and move forward with those student celebrations we cherish. Right now, it is simply too soon.”

Though the schoolhouse doors will remain shuttered, Downey said, that does not mean learning will stop. Last week, Bossier Schools released additional guidance for grades K-12, as well as online supplemental learning resources and plans to move forward with new instruction. It can be viewed here: https://www.bossierschools.org/coronavirus

Downey’s statement also emphasized that those supplemental learning resources are optional “and not meant to be an additional burden or stressor on families. Our district recognizes everyone’s situation is different and is sympathetic to that. At the same time, it is our obligation to offer expanded learning opportunities for those asking for them.”

Let me emphasize no child will be penalized academically because of their inability to access devices, the Internet or participate in academic activities. If a student declines academically during this period of school closure, his/her grade will revert back to the grade he/she had at the time of the school closure. We encourage parents to reach out to their child’s teacher(s) or school counselor for specific questions.

As this situation continues to evolve, Bossier Schools is committed to keeping you informed and providing updates. We understand you have concerns and appreciate your patience, understanding and partnership. If ever there was a silver lining to all of this, it has been how everyone is pulling together because we are Bossier Strong.

Mitch Downey, Bossier Schools

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