Livingston Parish plans for virtual learning concerns

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Livingston Parish Public School System

LIVINGSTON PARISH,La (BRPROUD)- As preparations for the 2020-2021 school year begin, Livingston Parish officials gathered on Tuesday, August 4 to discuss a plan for their virtual students.

According to Livingston Parish School System, nearly 2,000 students in the parish will participate in the school year virtually.

This new form of instruction comes with concerns of internet access. According to school technology director, Carlos Williams, about 2,500 to 3,500 Livingston Parish students do not have internet access in their homes and the parish lacks in cell coverage and service.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Joe Murphy said the school system has begun tackling the internet issue.

“The school system has partnered with other governmental entities, local churches and
some private businesses to add external access points across the parish, boosting internet
access in certain areas. At the same time, we have invested in some personal hotspot devices
for some students,” Murphy said. “But more help is needed.”

However, Williams said a more long term plan for internet access is needed. Williams suggested the school system to cooperate with service providers directly.

“Clearly, a large portion of our students will be receiving virtual instruction in some way
or another, so parish-wide access to the internet is critical to our efforts,” said Williams.

According to the school system, Livingston Parish is serviced by four major providers, with some service overlapping – AT&T, Cox, Charter/Spectrum and EATEL.

Students in Livingston Parish Public Schools were given the option of a mixture of virtual and on-campus learning, dependent on the grade level of the student.

According to Murphy, 93 percent of students have opted to receive instruction through on-campus formats.

The school year is set to start on Friday, Aug. 7. 

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