Charter school in Louisiana goes all-virtual after positive COVID-19 case

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OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — An Opelousas charter school is deciding to go all virtual after two weeks of classes.

About 250 students attend JS Clark Academy, but the halls are empty. The students not at their desks, but their desktops typing.

It’s the way they ended last school year, but CEO Tiffanie Lewis explained it wasn’t the way they started this one, “They came for one week, and then the next week they did virtual, so while they were on virtual, we had all of our teachers tested.”

Results returned early on the third week with one staff member testing positively.

Lewis decided that was enough to move all classes went online starting Wednesday, August 19.

“Even if you have one, you have some exposure that is going on, possible exposure,” advised Lewis.

She explained the choice to move online was easy. The health of everyone on campus is a priority, and virtual learning was a possibility they prepared for, training each student for the online option the first week of classes and during last Spring.

“I just think if other districts have prepared their students to be in a virtual platform, they’ll be fine on virtual,” said Lewis. “It’s that when you have cases of districts who are not training their students who don’t have the capabilities to transmit their educational goals, you would have issues there.”

Returning to in-person learning is entirely dependent on when Governor John Bel Edwards starts phase 3 of recovery which could happen as early as August 28.

“That’s what we’re praying for,” Lewis stated. “We like to see our babies face to face and really be able to teach in that method, but we have to do what circumstances calls for us to do.”

August 6 was first day for kindergarten, August 3 was the first day for middle school, and August 10 for high school.

The decision is affecting juniors and seniors less since their classes are entirely dual enrollment. Kindergarten students are the only students still on campus. The remaining students who are in fifth through tenth grade are learning virtually completely.

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