Latest on Reopening Plans Updated (8/10/2020)

  • Dear JP Schools Family:

    Jefferson Parish Schools is dedicated to providing the education our students deserve to succeed in life and make our world a better place. While student learning is our top priority, our top responsibility is making school a safe environment for our students and employees. To make these decisions, we have relied on guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Louisiana Department of Health, and the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). 

    We can’t do this work alone, so we teamed up with Ochsner Hospital for Children to provide additional resources to support a healthy and safe return to school for students, teachers, and employees. During visits to schools, Jefferson Parish School Board members and district officials have spoken with educators, inquired about their concerns, and determined if there were other opportunities to leverage Ochsner’s resources. After these visits and various conversations with our families and employees, we worked with Ochsner to add an additional layer of safety for our students and employees. 

    Today, we are excited to announce that Ochsner will make rapid 15 minute testing available for symptomatic Jefferson Parish teachers and employees, beginning August 26. Having rapid testing results available for our symptomatic teachers and employees allows us to quickly determine if an employee has COVID-19 and take the appropriate precautions.

    Since COVID-19 rapid testing will not be available until August 26, we have decided to delay the opening of school until August 26. We remain diligent in our efforts to provide a safe environment, and this will allow us to add another layer of safety for our employees and students to ensure that we mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In the coming days, we will work through the details of this process.

    Since we set out to reopen schools, safety has been our top responsibility. We’ve said many times that the situation is fluid and we would need to be flexible and make adjustments as we received new information and guidance. We understand that this will cause some disruptions to families who were ready to send their children back to school in-person this Wednesday. The decision was not made lightly, and, ultimately, we felt this delay was the best way to ensure a safe and successful return to school. We apologize for the short notice and the burden this may cause, but please know we are excited to see your child the week of August 26.

    We will use these two weeks to continue to strengthen our plans and offer additional professional development for our teachers, particularly around teaching virtually. The better we can support our teachers, the better off our students will be. Additionally, we are working with our vendors as we continue to receive student technology and curriculum resources on a rolling basis. As they arrive, we will continue distributing these materials to our families.

    We appreciate your support, patience and participation throughout this process, and we will continuously keep you informed. 

    Together, we will do our best to provide a positive and safe educational environment for our students - one that benefits them socially, emotionally and academically. Our teachers, support staff, and leaders are key to this plan, and we are grateful for their commitment to our students during these unprecedented times. The work we’re doing now will ensure the best possible outcome for our students. I’m proud to do this work alongside you and know that together, we will be the champions our students deserve.

    Dr. James Gray

Latest on Reopening Plans Updated (8/7/2020)

  • We can’t wait to welcome you back to school in the classroom and virtually! Please watch the video below for a message from Dr. James Gray, Superintendent for Jefferson Parish Schools.

    Video Transcript:

    As the superintendent of Jefferson Parish Schools,  I am excited to serve you in this new role. Our principals and teachers have worked all summer to prepare for your child to return to our care. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back.  Since we closed our doors in March, we’ve been hard at work preparing our schools to meet new safety protocols. 

    You’ve heard me say many times that back to school looks different this year. We will have to do things differently to keep one another safe. We will have daily temperature checks and wear masks. We will have to keep distance for our friends and teachers. We will wash our hands more frequently. 

    While some things will look different, I want to spend a little time to assure you that many of your favorite things will still be the same. 

    Whether in the classroom or virtual, your friends will be here. 

    Teachers will be kind, compassionate and excited to see you. 

    Kids will still run and play. 

    School will still be a place to discover new things, grow, and learn.

    No one realized last Spring that COVID-19 would still be affecting our communities this fall. Unfortunately, this has become our new normal for the time being. We all need to do our part to stay safe and take care of each other.  We all need to keep growing and learning together through this pandemic. 

    At JP Schools, we are committed to provide the education students deserve to succeed in life and make our world a better place. 

    We look forward to welcoming you back and seeing you soon.


    Additional resources for the JP Schools community:

    Start Strong Jefferson health and safety PSA videos

    Start Strong Jefferson FAQ’s

    Ochsner Hospital for Children Caregiver Resource Videos

Latest on Reopening Plans Updated (8/3/2020)

  • JP Schools Family,

    As we prepare to reopen our schools, we recognize a time normally marked by excitement is tinged with uncertainty. We’re here to make you feel as comfortable as possible with this new experience, and we’re eager to see your students on their first day, whether that is virtually or in-person. Living amongst a pandemic has become our new normal, and we must do our best to provide a positive educational environment for our students - one that benefits them socially, emotionally and academically. Our teachers and support staff are key to this plan, and we are grateful for their commitment to our students during these unprecedented times.

    We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions, live at jpschools/startstrongfaq, that will be updated on a regular basis. It is our hope that these questions can clear up many uncertainties and offer a better understanding of what the classroom experience will look like. We will make adjustments as we receive new information and will keep our families and employees informed along the way.

    The long hiatus has made even more apparent the critical role schools play in a community, not only for academic instruction, but for the social services our families need. Student learning is our top priority, and safety is our top responsibility. Jefferson Parish Schools has always taken pride in doing what is right for students. Although there will be challenges, we have an opportunity to show others how to provide a safe environment for students, teachers and employees. 

    We thank you for your support, patience and participation in making the start to school as smooth as possible. Together, we will be champions for our students.

    Regards,
    Dr. James Gray

Latest on Reopening Plans Updated (7/24/2020)

  • JP Schools Family,

    We know that returning to school this year is going to be different, which will require us to think and respond differently. However, we can overcome anything if we have a plan and work together.

    As we shared in Start Strong Jefferson, the safety of our students and employees is our top responsibility, and student learning is our top priority. Our school leaders are preparing site-specific plans that align to our Start Strong plan and the Louisiana Department of Education’s reopening guidance. We know many of our families and educators have unanswered questions about what reopening schools will look like. While there are still details to be worked out, here’s what we do know:

    • We will implement additional safety protocols to keep our people safe. These protocols include daily temperature checks, face coverings for all, social distancing and static grouping to the maximum extent possible, frequent handwashing, increased cleaning and sanitation, and restricting visitors.

    • We will provide our educators and schools with personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning and disinfecting supplies. We are working with government, community, and business partners to provide additional PPE and supplies.

    • We will support families to meet their technology needs. We are working through a plan to achieve 1:1 device capacity for K-12 grades. We ask that you please have patience as we work through the high volume of device requests. Before school starts, schools will prioritize distributing devices to families who need them the most. 

    • We will provide our families with an all-virtual option. We had approximately 25,000 families register for Virtual Jefferson. We are working with families and schools to verify the data, and we will then work with school leaders to finalize logistics for instruction and staffing. Those logistics include finalizing which teachers are providing virtual and/or in-person learning. Our educators will receive the support, resources, and training they need to be safe and successful. Our students will be taught using the same curriculum and standard of excellence.

    • We believe in collaborative decision-making. We are in constant communication with the Jefferson Federation of Teachers to ensure we are addressing our educators’ concerns. Additionally, we are working closely with Jefferson Parish Government officials and our state and local public health officials. 

    • We need your feedback along the way. We encourage input from our students, families, educators, and community members about our reopening plan to ensure we can best support our students, families, and educators. Please share your input here.

    • We are constantly reviewing our plan. Given the fluid nature of this public health crisis, we will adjust our plan as we get new information, data, and guidance. We will also keep you informed along the way.

    We know these times are uncertain, but what is certain is that we will always make decisions that put students first. While we have a long road ahead to meet our 2024 goals, this year is going to be another school year marked by progress in JP Schools. We have outstanding leaders, teachers, support staff, and district staff who will ensure our students get the education they deserve. Thank you for your continued patience, trust and partnership as we navigate the reopening of schools. Together, we will be champions for our students.

    Dr. James Gray

Latest on Reopening Plans Updated (7/20/2020)

Latest on Reopening Plans Updated (7/13/2020)

  • JP Schools Family,

    As we plan for a Start Strong Jefferson, our priorities are to ensure the safest teaching and learning environment for our students and staff and maximize safe, in-person opportunities. We are utilizing guidance from the Louisiana Department of Education, the Louisiana Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Jefferson Parish officials. We are considering the diversity of our students’ needs. We are working to be responsible stewards of our resources. We are using input from our families, staff, and community members. We are preparing for multiple methods of teaching and learning given the fluid nature of this pandemic. As we get new information, we will adjust accordingly.

    In our efforts to provide ongoing updates with our stakeholders, this message contains important information:

    • Targeted Survey Results: In addition to our end-of-the-year stakeholder planning survey in May, we conducted more targeted surveys of staff and caregivers in June. We will use the results to continue planning for the start of the year. View the attached results or visit jpschools.org/stakeholdersurvey
    • Academic Calendar Survey Results: We conducted an academic calendar survey last week. Based on 10,305 responses, 68% of stakeholders want to push the first day of school for students back from August 6 to August 12. This would provide our educators with additional days before students report to implement additional safety guidelines and prepare for the start of the year. The School Board will vote to approve the proposed calendar Wednesday, July 15. Additional details about the calendar survey results are in the attached presentation or viewable at jpschools.org/stakeholdersurvey
    • Virtual Jefferson: As we’ve shared, we are considering three school instructional models for the start of the year: traditional, hybrid, and virtual. Families can register now for Virtual Jefferson, our at-home virtual learning option that will support K-12th grade students throughout the 2020-2021 school year. Based on the number of families who register for Virtual Jefferson, we will determine staffing, support, and logistics. No matter the school instructional model, our educators will have the support to be successful and prepared. 
    • Virtual Jefferson Registration Extension: Based on feedback from our stakeholders, we decided to extend the registration window for Virtual Jefferson from July 16 to July 22. This will allow families to see the full Start Strong Jefferson plan on July 20 before making the best decision for their child(ren).
    • Key Start Strong Jefferson Timelines: We want to share some key timelines related to Start Strong Jefferson: 

    What

    When

    Virtual Jefferson registration opens

    July 10

    Jefferson School Board special meeting to vote on new proposed academic calendar

    July 15

    Publicly share Start Strong Jefferson plan with families, staff, and community

    July 20

    Virtual Jefferson registration closes

    July 22 

    (extended from July 16 to July 22)

    First day for teachers and staff

    August 3

    First day for 1-12th grade students

    August 12 

    (pending JP School Board approval)

    First day for PK-K students

    August 17-18

    (pending JP School Board approval)

    We know the 2020-2021 school year will be like none other before. There will be challenges. There will be successes. Given the fluid nature of this pandemic, there will be adjustments made to our plan as we get new information. When we work together, we can be nimble, creative, flexible, and reflective to meet the needs of our students. They need us, now more than ever.  

    Jefferson Parish Schools

Latest on JP Schools Reopening Plans for 2020-21 (Updated 7/2/2020)

  • We will be ready to educate students on day one. That’s our commitment. At the July 1 school board meeting, we presented an initial reopening plan, Start Strong Jefferson. The plan is still in progress and will be further developed based on CDC guidance and input from stakeholders.

    Below are a few key points from the Start Strong Jefferson presentation at the July 1 school board meeting, which you can view here

    • The safety of our students and staff is our top priority.
    • Our reopening plans will be fluid and routinely adjusted to reflect updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    • We are considering three school instructional models: traditional, hybrid, and virtual.
    • We are working to maximize safe, in-person opportunities for our students to engage with their teachers. 
    • While participation in learning was optional this spring, attendance and participation in learning will be mandatory come August.
    • We will be prepared to immediately shift to 100% at-home virtual instruction should school closure become necessary during the school year. 
    • Families will have the option to choose a 100% at-home virtual learning model.
    • If we conduct virtual learning, synchronous (teacher-led) learning will occur via Google Meet and asynchronous (self-paced) learning will occur via Google Classroom. Support and professional development will occur to ensure teachers, staff, and families are supported with this learning.
    • Currently, students are scheduled to return August 6. However, in order to prepare for a safe and successful start, we may need to adjust the academic calendar. We will send a stakeholder survey next Monday, July 6 for you to weigh in on some academic calendar options.
    • Should we proceed with a virtual or hybrid school instructional model, we know some of our families may need support with technology. Chromebooks have been or will be ordered to achieve 1:1 device capacity for K-12 grades. We are working with our vendors to obtain the devices as close to the start of the school year as possible. 
    • Based on feedback from our staff, we want to continue training and support so our teachers and leaders are prepared for the possibility of a hybrid or virtual model. 

    "Every student in our district will have access to a great education starting day one," said Interim Superintendent and Chief Operations Officer Lale L. Geer. "We are working collaboratively with our school leaders to plan for a successful and safe start, and we will continue using input from our families, staff, and community stakeholders throughout this process.”

    Our plans are fluid and may change. We will continue to communicate with you throughout the summer, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure a Start Strong Jefferson.