Caddo Schools preparing for the new normal

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Caddo Parish School System is preparing to tackle new and unknown challenges this fall.

“You have to begin with really reinforcing those skills like washing your hands constantly, you have to really look at making sure things like sanitizers are available when appropriate. Helping children to clean their areas when they leave them.”

Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree says the district is purchasing foggers to sanitize surfaces. They’ll also utilize innovative measures to limit student movement, practice social distancing and create smaller group settings.

“Prepare for things to be different, but again I don’t think different has to necessarily be bad.”

School buses will be cleaned daily and they’re looking at different options for bus routes.

“That’s one of our greatest challenges because society is designed around getting as many people in one space as we can, so it’s certainly required my team to think very differently.”

When it comes to extracurricular activities, Goree says he’ll be leaning on guidance from the Louisiana Department of Education, public health officials and common sense, but educating students will remain their first priority.

“One thing we have to be able to do is make sure that education continues. Whether it’s at home, whether it’s in a hybrid setting where you spend one day in school, one day at home or everyone in school at the same time.”

Ensuring all students have the tools needed has come with a price tag.

“We thought at most we’d be out two weeks, but ended up in a situation where we had to provide over 300 kids with access to technology and that was their human right.”

The school system also provided 60,000 meals a week. The CARES Act provided some funding but not all.

“We entered into many of those endeavors with no idea as to how we’d pay for it.”

The pandemic is leaving a lot of uncertainty for the school district, parents, students and teachers.

“I think teachers are afraid and I just stand to really let them know that they work in a school system that will make decisions in their best interest and in the best interest of children.”

The district is building interventions and changing the curriculum to address the class time that’s been lost. Plans are also being made to address the emotional needs of teachers and students.

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