Jefferson Parish Schools Announces Tiered Reopening Plan
Dear JP Schools Family,
Our main goal has always been to safely reopen schools and as quickly as possible. Public schools are a cornerstone of a strong, well-functioning community. Our schools exist to provide children with the education they deserve to succeed in life and make our world a better place. At a more basic level, schools provide a sense of normalcy and a safe place for children during the day.
Hurricane Ida’s impact on Jefferson Parish varied from community to community and across our 80 campuses. Our three schools in Grand Isle and Lafitte suffered severe damage, 27 of our schools suffered major damage, and damage to our remaining schools was minor. Contractors have assessed each campus, and recovery work is underway. Contractors will release school campuses back to us as those buildings meet safety, environmental, and operational standards. The contractors shared their timeline with us yesterday afternoon, and we used this information to create a tentative reopening plan. Based on when schools will be released to us, the first day for students at tier 1 schools is planned for September 20, tier 2 schools September 24, and tier 3 schools October 1. Please note these timelines are subject to change based on our buildings meeting safety standards.
Timeline for Reopening Schools
Our schools will reopen on a rolling basis based on the tiered release timeline of system contractors. Teachers and school-based staff will return to work two days prior to the first day for students at their school. The timeline for each tier and a list of schools in each tier can be found on our website. We will also continue to update our frequently asked questions.
Grand Isle School, Leo Kerner Elementary, and Fisher Middle-High will not be part of the general reopening tiers due to the significant impact of the storm in Grand Isle and Lafitte. We will directly communicate reopening plans with those employees and families prior to any public announcement.
JP Schools charter schools will also not be a part of the reopening tiers. Those schools will directly communicate individual reopening plans with their employees and families.
All school-based employees report to work on their regular schedule based on their school’s tier. Itinerant employees will hear directly from their supervisor about a report date. If staff members have extenuating circumstances, they should contact their supervisor.
Changes to Academic Calendar
As I mentioned yesterday, our goal is to ensure children receive the benefits of a complete academic year. While our academic calendar had additional instructional minutes built into it, the days we have missed due to Hurricane Ida have exceeded that cushion. The state mandates a minimum number of instructional minutes that school systems are required to meet each year. Any waiver of these minutes would have to be requested by the state and approved by the governor. We will be in touch next week about our academic calendar as we continue to evaluate options to make up the days missed due to Hurricane Ida.
I know you have additional questions. That’s normal and expected considering the current situation. Know that we are working to make the best decisions we can for children, employees, families, and Jefferson Parish as a whole. I will continue to share updates every Tuesday and Thursday and as needed throughout this process. We also created a page on our website with frequently asked questions and will continue to update it as more information is available.
I’m grateful to our employees, families, School Board, Jefferson Parish officials, and community partners for their support as we navigate through this difficult time together. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. Even with buildings closed and many of our personal lives turned upside down, we have continued to show up for our children and one another. I know we will keep moving forward together.
Dr. James Gray