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School System Update

January 15, 2021

As previously shared, our community and state are experiencing an increase in positive COVID-19 cases. While this was anticipated due to the holidays, the impact to school system operations is being felt like never before. Although we have not seen a spread of COVID-19 within our schools, we have experienced a significant increase in student and employee absences due to quarantines. With extreme bus operator shortages and limited seating capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, bus services are being adversely affected in a significant way.

Knowing the burden of shifting to a completely virtual setting would cause our families, students, and community, we have and continue to do everything within our means to remain open and continue providing auxiliary services to students and families. With that goal in mind, I am asking for your help, understanding, and preparation for potential changes to school system operations.

Due to the shortage of bus operators and limited student capacity on buses, beginning next week, school system representatives will contact specific families requesting their help in providing transportation for their students. Please note that this only applies to students on specific routes where buses are over the COVID-19 capacity allotment resulting in the bus operator having to conduct multiple runs to prevent overcrowding on busses. Currently, bus operators are driving for all three tiers, conducting multiple runs, and covering a number of extra runs for operators who are unavailable.

In addition to reaching out to specific families for temporary assistance in providing transportation, we are considering a number of different options to assist us in sustaining our current operations. While we do not anticipate having to implement any of these options immediately, please be prepared in the event it becomes necessary to shift bell times and/or learning models. As we have all come to know, things develop quickly and are very fluid as it relates to the pandemic.

Our school system employees are heroes. The commitment, sacrifice, and perseverance they have demonstrated to ensure our students are provided high quality educational opportunities each rightly deserves is beyond miraculous. Please join us in helping keep our schools open for each and every student we serve by continuing to adhere to COVID-19 safety practices while out in the community and at home. It will make a difference in lowering the positivity rate in our community and help ease the burden to our school system. You and I, we are St. Charles Parish Public Schools, and I cannot thank our families, students, and employees enough for their continued flexibility, understanding, and cooperation during this most challenging time. 

Have a safe and healthy three-day weekend as schools, eLearning, and the School Board Office will be closed in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday on Monday, January 18.

Dr. Ken Oertling
St. Charles Parish Public Schools