PHOTOS: Back to School in West Baton Rouge


Courtesy of The West Side Journal

PORT ALLEN, La. (The West Side Journal) – With masks on and temperatures checked, West Baton Rouge Parish students and teachers began the first days of school for the 2020-21 year.

Students in grades 7 – 12 will attend school on an alternating schedule, while younger students will attend classes every day. West Baton Rouge middle and high schools welcomed half of their student population back Monday and the other half on Tuesday. Brusly High and Middle school students were welcomed to their new campuses. The Brusly High construction project is largely complete, with crews working on finishing athletic facilities and outdoor areas.

As students arrive on campus, their temperatures are checked by automatic scanners. Teachers encourage students to wash their hands, sanitize the desks they use and maintain social distancing.

Students in third grade and up are required to wear masks anytime they travel around campus and strongly encouraged to do so during classroom instruction. Masks are not required on the bus.

About 1,000, or approximately 25% of the school district’s students enrolled in the WBR Virtual Academy for the Fall semester, which began orientation on Monday, Aug. 10. The School Board initially anticipated about 10% of the district’s students enrolling in the online-only option. Students enrolled in the Virtual Academy have exclusively virtual teachers teaching via Zoom.

What about private schools?

Both private schools in West baton Rouge Parish – Holy Family (HFS) and The Christian Academy of Louisiana (CAL) have returned to in-person instruction.

Holy Family School, a private Catholic Pre-K through eighth grade school, follows many of the same procedures as the district, specifically the temperature checks and mask requirement for third graders and older. School administrators spent the final weeks of the summer creating a carpool tutorial video and placing bear paw stickers throughout the campus to encourage social distancing. HFS requires masks while traveling on campus and during classroom instruction. Students are not required to wear their mask in the cafeteria or while on the playground, where the equipment is cleaned using sanitizing fog machines.

CAL serves students in Pre-K through 12th grade and also require students in third grade and above to wear masks while on campus. Students are not required to wear masks during in-classroom instruction if they maintain a distance of six feet apart.

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The West Side Journal, located in Port Allen, Louisiana serves as the official journal of West Baton Rouge Parish. The newspaper’s roots run deep in the West Baton Rouge community, as the earliest dates of publication reach back to the mid-1800s.

The current editor is Breanna Smith, an alumna of Louisiana State University's Manship School of Mass Communication and native of Baton Rouge. Contributing writers to the Journal are members of the West Side community.

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