Students return for the first day of school at Menard Central High School

Published: Aug. 7, 2020 at 4:41 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2020 at 4:49 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Holy Savior Menard is now the first school in Rapides Parish to open to doors back to both faculty and students. The students have not been on campus in classes since March 13 when schools officially closed.

The students went about their normal back-to-school routine by getting their class schedule for the upcoming school year. The difference between this year and previous years is now students and faculty have to wear masks and get their temperatures checked.

Menard has three separate temperature check locations around the school that are split up by grades so the students will not be piled up all in one spot.

Menard’s principal, Chris Gatlin, said that they did not have a student on the first day back that had to be sent home because they were running a fever. If a student were to record a temperature of 100.4 degrees and above, they will be put in an isolation room before being retested. If after 15 minutes, the temperature remains high, the parents will be contacted and be sent home. A concern for the school remains that just because a student or faculty member doesn’t have a fever, it doesn’t mean that they do not have COVID-19 as people can be asymptomatic.

Since Menard is the first school to open back up in the parish, they are practically serving as the guinea pigs for the other schools, and Gatlin is encouraging the other administrations to contact Menard regarding the effectiveness of their first day back.

Gatlin said, “We’ll be glad to share how it went and some of the concerns that we had. We have to watch some things throughout the day to see how they go and use this weekend to adjust some things if we see large crowds of kids gathering together. So today is kind of a trial run for us, even though we started academically. We kind of have to watch the flow of traffic, take some notes and make some adjustments”

Out of the 434 students at Menard, only 10 of them chose virtual learning, so 424 are expected on campus each day.

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