Mar 17, 2020

BATON ROUGE, La. – Acting State Superintendent Beth Scioneaux issued the following message to school leaders regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. The message led the Department’s weekly newsletter.

Dear Colleagues, 

The Louisiana Department of Education continues to monitor the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its impact on our communities, our schools, and our early childhood centers. The Department also continues working to ensure education leaders at all levels are properly informed and supported during this extraordinary time.

In the time since the Governor’s emergency proclamation was issued to close all public school facilities to students, the Department has taken steps forward in that effort. It has secured numerous waivers from the state’s education board that offer flexibilities to schools and centers related to required instructional time, teacher evaluations, childcare services, and special education, among other key policy areas.

It has also secured waivers from the federal government to provide more options in how schools can establish school meal sites and serve children in their communities during the extended closures, regardless of that child’s family income or location. To date, 235 schools across 63 parishes have stepped up to fill this vital need in creative ways, such as grab-n-go, curbside pickup, and even meal delivery services.

While many next steps remain unclear, the Department will submit a request to the U.S. Department of Education regarding 2019-2020 state assessment and accountability requirements, but continue to offer access to optional state assessments, as desired by schools and parents.

Moreover, at the start of this week, BESE and the House Education Committee penned a letter to the Governor asking for statutory relief related to state assessments, annual performance scores, and diploma requirements from graduating seniors. The Governor is expected to sign off on these asks, affording our schools the chance to prioritize the health and safety of educators and students above all else.

It will also continue to roll out resources and guidance to schools, centers, and families, including new academic resources for educators, at-home learning materials for families, and an interactive map of school meal sites. All information will be continually updated on the Department’s COVID-19 webpage.

Please complete the School District/Charter School COVID-19 Education Planning Survey by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, March 18, to notify the Department as to whether you will provide educational services while school facilities are closed to children.

Schools may have closed their classroom doors, but our work continues. Thank you for all you do for our children—now and always.

Beth Scioneaux
Acting State Superintendent

View the full newsletter.

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