Vernon Parish students return to class today

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Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 7:44 AM CDT
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Leesville, LA (KPLC) - Vernon Parish Students are heading back to school today, Aug. 22, 2022.

With 18 schools in the parish alone, thousands of students from Kindergarten to High School are expected to return this year. And with that new school year comes new rules, especially when it comes to safety.

We sat down with Vernon Parish School Board Superintendent James Williams who explained some of the changes.

“The safety team which like I said, will consist of the chief SRO officer and our homeland security director and administrator will walk through the campus of the schools and look and see. For instance, is there fencing that is going to be adequate enough to keep kids safe from outside intruding, are there inside push bars on gates so you can keep gates shut, just basically an audit and inventory of everything that we know for a fact that enhanced the safety of our student, and our faculty and staff.”

In addition to his safety goals for the school year, he says student and staff health is a concern too.

“As far as the sanitation guidelines those haven’t changed, we’ll be sanitizing desks, tables, classrooms, and buildings like we’ve always have. In fact, we have air filtration, portable air filtration, systems that we put in the schools.”

And when it comes to COVID, the parish will be following CDC guidelines.

“Our initial plan was to go back to school the same way we ended school, but the CDC guidelines have changed since last week now the mandatory screening at the entrances of the school is not going to be taking place, the distancing is not going to be required so there are a few tweaks that they’ve made, and well just go with what the guidelines are, like we always have.”

For parents interested in meeting staff, Williams recommends that you set up a time to meet school administrators in advance.

And lastly, when it comes to free school lunch, he says there are currently only three schools independently offering that service. If you qualify for the parish’s free lunch program it doesn’t matter what school you go to. But, if you don’t qualify, only those three schools will be offering a free lunch.

“Right now we have, west Leesville Elementry, East Leesville Elementry, and Pitkin was the last to qualify I believe,” says Williams.

Overall, Williams said about this school year, “You know I just want the kids to be able to come to school and be a kid and learn you know kind of like we used to and not have to worry about a thousand other things you know.”