7th and 8th graders return to classrooms next week
AMITE---True to her word, Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley announced Tuesday night that starting the day after Labor Day, 7th and 8th grade students who want to return to in-classroom instruction may do so on a modified schedule.
Stilley made the announcement during Tuesday's Tangipahoa Parish School Board meeting in Amite. It was applauded by school board members, who echoed Stilley's hope that before long all TPSS students who want to return to their classrooms will be able to do so.
Until this point, junior high and high school students have not been able to attend classes in person at TPSS campuses because the district did not have adequate room for them to ride the bus to and from class. Under the Phase II COVID-19 restrictions, buses can only carry 50 percent of their proposed load, making it impossible to transport the district's student population.
Stilley promised parents that if capacity allowed, she would add in grade levels after Labor Day. Tuesday's announcement follows up on that promise.
Each school will set the modified schedule by which junior high students can return to class, but the superintendent likened it to the district's "soft start" days in mid-August, when students were able to attend classes a couple days on and a couple days by computer, alternating by last name or whatever groupings the school employed. Stilley urged parents to contact their child's school for specific information on how the modified schedule will work for 7th and 8th grade students.
She said that once the state enters Phase III, she hopes to get 9th-12th grade students back on campus in a similar A-B "modified" schedule.
Stilley also announced that she will need firm commitments from families within the next 10 days on whether their children will enroll in full virtual or classroom instruction for the fall semester. That deadline will be Friday, Sept. 11, and will be good for the entire fall semester unless otherwise noted, Stilley said.
The district currently has 3,000 students enrolled by choice in the full-virtual program, district leaders announced Tuesday.