To avoid losing instructional days when winter weather conditions make early morning travel unsafe, the Livingston Parish school system will adopt a “late arrival” schedule if necessary over the next few months.
In a statement, Deputy Superintendent Stephen Parrill said the plan on those days could be to delay the start of school by two or three hours. For example, if a school’s normal start time is 7 a.m., it could be moved to 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. if weather conditions make early morning travel unsafe.
The same scenario will be used for bus pick-up times, which means that if a child’s regular bus pick-up is at 6.30am, then it would be 8.30am or 9.30am.
In either case, Parrill said breakfast would not be served, but lunch and dismissal times would remain the same.
Parrill said the “late arrival” plan is necessary given the multitude of obstacles the local school system and others across the state have faced this year, including Hurricane Ida and the pandemic. of ongoing COVID-19.
Schools in Livingston Parish missed nearly two weeks of instructional time after Hurricane Ida in August, and some were closed longer due to prolonged power outages.
Given the time missed for Hurricane Ida and COVID-19 isolation guidelines, the district hopes to avoid having to cancel school days outright due to winter weather, as it has been forced to do it in the past. At times, the school system had to cancel school days when freezing conditions posed safety risks to those traveling to school, particularly early in the morning.
The “late arrival” schedule is intended to allow students to avoid poor travel conditions during the early morning hours while still committing to a day of learning.
“Weather planning in Louisiana can be a monumental task, as our region is impacted by a lengthy hurricane season, followed by several months of unpredictable winter rainfall,” Parrill said. “Add to that the potential loss of learning due to the COVID pandemic and you can see why there is a need for us to institute changes to potentially save learning days.”
Parrill said preset “late arrival” times will be posted on each school’s website, the district’s website at www.lpsb.org, and on district social media platforms. School officials hope to announce any schedule changes a day in advance to give employees, parents and students time to make any personal schedule adjustments that may be necessary, but Parrill noted that this can sometimes be a challenge.
“Notice is always the best-case scenario and the preferred scenario, but it’s not always available to us,” Parrill said.