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Hurricane Ida Recovery Updates

September 17, 2021

Hurricane Ida Recovery Update #7

SCPPS Families and Employees,

We continue to make great progress towards our recovery efforts. Each day, I am further grateful and amazed at the work taking place and the determination and dedication of our employees and contractors assisting us in our recovery efforts.

Please know we are moving closer to releasing tentative timelines for reopening schools, as site-specific mitigation and environmental quality restoration plans become more definitive. We plan to share tentative reopening timelines early next week.

Power Update:

At this time, electricity has been restored to 14 schools/sites: 

  1. Allemands Elementary
  2. B. Martin Middle
  3. Lafon Performing Arts Center
  4. Lakewood Elementary
  5. Luling Elementary
  6. Mimosa Park Elementary
  7. New Sarpy Elementary
  8. Norco Elementary
  9. J. Vial Elementary
  10. K. Smith Middle
  11. Satellite Center
  12. Schoeffner Elementary
  13. School Board Office (Central Office)
  14. Rose Elementary.

Partial power has been restored to:

  1. Albert Cammon Middle
  2. Hahnville High.

We continue to communicate with officials regarding missed instructional time and instructional minute requirements as a result of Hurricane Ida. Currently, we do know that a portion of the time missed will have to be recouped. A revised school calendar will be released once finalized and definitive reopening dates have been confirmed. Please rest assured we are trying our best to plan a revised calendar that maximizes instructional time while also being mindful of families’ and employees’ existing personal and previously scheduled plans. Additionally, I would like to reassure high school students and their families that our return plan and calendar will ensure students earn Carnegie units for their scheduled courses this year. Also, elementary, middle, and high school administrative teams and staff members will coordinate efforts and communicate plans for students’ return in the coming weeks after timelines have been communicated.

Please continue to check our website and social media accounts. While the power of this storm wreaked havoc on so many buildings and homes, it fortified our strength and resolve as a parish and school community. As a system, we cannot heal all the traumatic impacts and emotions so many of you have experienced through the storm and during the past few weeks of recovery, but we offer hope by serving our employees, students, families, and community to the fullest extent possible to fulfill our mission of providing high quality educational opportunities for each and every student. We will get through this together, one day at a time, and I look forward to the day soon when we can see all of our students and employees again.

Thank you for your continued patience, understanding, and support.

Dr. Ken Oertling
Superintendent
St. Charles Parish Public Schools

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September 15, 2021

School System Hurricane Ida Recovery Update #6

SCPPS Families and Employees,

It has now been 17 days since Hurricane Ida impacted our community. While I know everyone is hoping for a definitive timeline of when we will be able to reopen schools, there are several factors which must be considered and accomplished before setting a possible reopening date. We soon hope to be able to share with you in the coming days a tentative return timeline now that professional environmental testing is underway and recommendations are being provided to the school system by our contracted company. Our onsite employees and contractors are working tirelessly to accomplish mitigation and repair tasks to prepare our school buildings and sites for a safe and healthy return for all students and employees.

As previously shared, there is more to reopening our schools than just power restoration that must be considered and prepared for:

  • Appropriate repairs at some sites must be complete
  • Buildings environmentally cleared
  • Adequate staffing available
  • Boil water advisory lifted
  • Sewage usage restriction lifted.

Building systems at each site must be tested and repaired, including but not limited to:

  • Electrical and HVAC systems
  • Phone service
  • Fire alarms
  • Intercoms
  • Cameras
  • Internet network
  • Sprinkler and fire suppression systems.

Also, please keep in mind that not all schools will reopen at the same time. Schools will open when they are operationally ready and safe. In addition, platooning students may be necessary at certain sites.

Power Update:

At this time, electricity has been restored to nine schools/sites: 

  1. J. B. Martin Middle
  2. Lafon Performing Arts Center
  3. Lakewood Elementary
  4. Mimosa Park Elementary
  5. R. J. Vial Elementary
  6. R. K. Smith Middle
  7. Satellite Center
  8. School Board Office (Central Office)
  9. St. Rose Elementary.

Partial power has been restored to:

  1. Albert Cammon Middle
  2. Hahnville High.

Since power has been restored to the School Board Office, I am happy to announce the School Board Office will resume regular operations on Monday, September 20, 2021. Our phone lines are operational, and additional Central Office employees will be on site to assist with our planning and recovery efforts.

In addition to our emergency assessments, repair, restoration work, and surveying of families and employees, other efforts currently underway include:

  • Environmental Testing - The school system has contracted with SRP Environmental LLC, a company specializing in industrial hygiene and environmental monitoring. SRP is mapping moisture and environmental quality while assessing building conditions. Based upon results of these assessments, SRP will provide the school system with a plan to return buildings, materials/equipment, and the environment to pre-storm conditions.  We are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for anyone entering our buildings.
  • Technology Infrastructure Assessments and Repairs – SCPPS staff members are working to restore technology network and fibers where needed and assessing Wi-Fi and internet servers, routers, and access points.

Family Survey – Please complete by Friday, September 17.
As mentioned in an email sent last week, we are asking students’ families to complete a survey so we can collect specific information relative to students’ needs.  The deadline to complete the survey is Friday, September 17, and it is available at https://forms.gle/gTNXe9C7LGLGjckt6. Please complete the survey once for each child who attended a public school in St. Charles Parish prior to Hurricane Ida.

Recovery Webpage www.stcharles.k12.la.us/HurricaneIda
A section has been added to the school system’s website which encompasses our recovery efforts and resources.  The section can be found on the website homepage under the Hurricane Ida Recovery tab or can be accessed directly at https://www.stcharles.k12.la.us/HurricaneIda

Information available in the section includes:

  • Running record of school system recovery messages
  • Instructional resources by grade level
    (Please note the activities found within these resources are strictly optional and not required to be completed.)
  • Community recovery resources from federal and local agencies
  • Social/emotional wellness resources from federal and local agencies
  • Frequently asked questions.

Please continue to check our website and social media accounts. I see progress being made each and every day in our recovery efforts.  With your patience, understanding, and continued support, we will continue our tradition and mission of providing high-quality educational opportunities for every student.

Thank you.

Dr. Ken Oertling
Superintendent
St. Charles Parish Public Schools

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September 10, 2021

School System Hurricane Ida Recovery Update #5

St. Charles Parish Public Schools Families,

“There is no place like home.”  How many times have you heard of or personally used this quote from The Wizard of Oz?  I know I’ve heard it probably too many times to count, but the quote has taken on a new meaning for us these past few weeks. I, along with many residents, may be here physically in St. Charles Parish, but I know there are still many people who have not been able to return home.  Our students, their families, and employees long to be home and long for a sense of normalcy. Please feel comforted knowing we are making significant progress each day towards making it possible for our students to return to their home away from home, their school.

Here is the latest update in regards to our recovery progress.

Recovery Webpage - www.stcharles.k12.la.us/hurricaneida
A section has been added to the school system’s website which encompasses our recovery efforts and resources.  The section can be found on the website's homepage under the Hurricane Ida Recovery tab or can be accessed directly at www.stcharles.k12.la.us/HurricaneIda

Information available in the section includes:

  • Running record of school system recovery messages
  • Instructional resources by grade level
    (Please note the activities found within these resources are strictly optional and not required to be completed.)
  • Community recovery resources from federal and local agencies
  • Frequently asked questions in regards to the school system’s recovery from Hurricane Ida, including details for families who wish to withdraw from and subsequently re-enroll in St. Charles Parish Public Schools

Family Survey - Please complete by September 17
As mentioned in an email sent earlier this week, we are asking students’ families to complete a survey so we can collect specific information relative to students’ needs.  This survey is available at https://forms.gle/gTNXe9C7LGLGjckt6 until September 17.  Please complete the survey once for each child who attended a public school in St. Charles Parish prior to Hurricane Ida.  In other words, if you have three children enrolled in school, please complete the survey three separate times. Please complete the survey by September 17 so we may make plans accordingly.

Thank you for your continued thoughts, prayers, and inquiries into the status of St. Charles Parish Public Schools.  I am humbled by the positivity and gratitude reflected in your comments on our social media posts and the overwhelming support we have received. It lifts the spirits of those working to repair and prepare our schools for reopening.  The community of St. Charles Parish is like no other, and I am proud to call it home!


Dr. Ken Oertling
Superintendent
St. Charles Parish Public Schools

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September 8, 2021

Hurricane Ida Recovery Update #4

Families and employees of St. Charles Parish Public Schools,

Ten days…It has been ten days since Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana. We miss our students, and we miss our employees. Our recovery efforts are focused on getting schools operational as quickly as possible to allow for a return to in-person learning. Studies have shown time and again that there is no substitute equivalent to in-person learning.

Reopening of Schools

Schools cannot reopen until permanent power is restored, necessary repairs made, and appropriate staffing secured. 

  • Once power is restored, additional assessments/repairs of systems (such as electrical, air, technology, etc.) will be made prior to reopening.
  • Not all schools will reopen at the same time. Schools will reopen when operationally ready and safe.
  • Most sites may reopen within 2 weeks after power is restored if previously stated conditions are met. Some sites may take longer.
  • Platooning students may be an option for sites which are not operationally ready. Platooning consists of scheduling students to share sites by either time of day or assigned days, affording in-person learning for all students. If platooning is utilized, schedules may be revised. 

Options for Students During School Closure

At this time, the Louisiana Department of Education has not waived any attendance requirements. Therefore, the school year calendar will be revised to provide a complete year of teaching and learning for the 2021-2022 school year. Parents are encouraged to determine what is in the best interests of their child(ren) and family in regards to what their child(ren) should be doing during this closure.   Depending upon your child’s age, needs, and Internet availability, there are several options available:

  • work directly with your child on academic skills through resources provided by SCPPS (to be released soon).
  • register in another school system in which you are currently residing.
  • register in an accredited Louisiana virtual school such as Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy (http://lavca.k12.com) or Louisiana Connections Academy (http://www.connectionsacademy.com).
  • register in a home study program (information available at louisianabelieves.com/schools/home-study).

Please note that if your child registers with a school outside of St. Charles Parish Public Schools, the child will be considered withdrawn from SCPPS and will need to re-enroll upon return to St. Charles Parish Public Schools. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A document containing Frequently Asked Questions and Answers has been developed and will continue to be updated throughout the school closure. The document is available under the Hurricane Ida Recovery Tab on the webpage.

Recovery Resources

While our mission is to provide high-quality educational opportunities, we realize students and employees cannot engage in traditional teaching and learning without their basic needs being met.  In an effort to understand the needs of our students’ families, a survey will be sent to all families on Friday to collect specific information relative to your needs, and a similar survey was sent to all employees earlier today in regards to their needs as well.  Additionally, we have compiled a list of federal and local resources for families and employees to aid in the recovery process. The document is available under the Hurricane Ida Recovery Tab on the webpage.

Ten days…For ten days, our SCPPS hurricane response employees and hired contractors have been on site, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, doing the necessary work to move us toward the day when we can all be together again.  That day is coming.  Until that day, we will continue to keep you updated via our Blackboard Connect messaging system, the school system’s website, and social media pages.  You and I…We are St. Charles Parish Public Schools.

Dr. Ken Oertling
Superintendent
St. Charles Parish Public Schools

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September 3, 2021

Hurricane Ida Recovery Update #3

Good evening families of St. Charles Parish Public Schools,

As mentioned in my last update, our schools have experienced substantial damage as a result of Hurricane Ida.  I know that many of you have also experienced significant personal loss – loss of your home, possessions, money, and plans.  The thought of the traumatic impact this is placing on our students, their families, and employees keeps me restless at night, and we are determined to take the steps needed to reopen schools as soon as they are ready to do so.

We have completed an initial internal assessment of damage sustained to our facilities and secured drone aerial footage in order to prioritize allocation of resources.  It has been only five days since Hurricane Ida, and we have made significant progress towards returning our facilities to an operational condition including:

  • removal of standing water from school buildings,
  • completion of temporary repairs to secure any exposed areas of buildings,
  • gathering of debris at sites in central locations for easy removal, and
  • engineering assessment of rooftops.

We are moving forward quickly to return schools to an operational state. I appreciate the work of all those on and off site during this time – especially our Hurricane Preparedness and Recovery teams who have put in extraordinary work and hours to make sure our school system is in a position to respond to our needs and recover appropriately.  To guide our next steps, we have secured additional professional disaster management services to support our efforts.  Their teams and insurance adjustors will conduct their assessments at sites next week.  Once these steps are complete, we will focus our efforts on tentative return options and timelines. 

We will continue to provide regular updates via our social media platforms and the Blackboard Connect messaging system.

Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and inquiries in regards to the status of our school system. We will get through this together, one day at a time, because You and I…We Are St. Charles Parish Public Schools.

Dr. Ken Oertling
Superintendent
St. Charles Parish Public Schools

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September 1, 2021

Hurricane Ida Recovery Update #2

Good afternoon. First and foremost, I would like to thank President Jewell and his staff, Sheriff Champagne and his staff, elected officials, and all coordinating agencies and organizations pulling together to restore our community.

Our dedicated onsite staff and contracted services are currently working to restore our schools. We recognize our school system not only provides students a high-quality education but also essential support for their wellbeing and growth such as food, health care, social-emotional support, counseling and physical activities. Our schools serve parents by providing care services throughout the day so they in turn may work and provide for their families. Reopening schools is a priority/focus for our community and stakeholders.

Like most of our residents and families, we experienced a significant blow from Hurricane Ida that has left some buildings inoperable. We are currently assessing all buildings and sites for damages and structural integrity so we can prioritize the allocation of resources appropriately. Thus far, without fully assessing, I would estimate that all buildings received some sort of damage and about a third received significant damage.

Our emergency contracted services have been activated and are currently onsite conducting emergency recovery work.

Aside from the damage to our sites, we are most concerned for the wellbeing and care of our employees, their families, and residences as well as our 9800 students, their families, and all residents in our beloved community. We had preliminarily identified where our employees evacuated to and have begun surveying them to identify their current needs. We care deeply for their wellbeing.  

I cannot currently estimate the time of return until we can fully assess and map out a plan for recovery. I know that our community, government officials, business and industry partners, and state and federal entities want to see us return in a timely manner…but it will take time. We will do everything within our means to return when safe to do so while also recognizing that it may look a little bit differently at some sites. I ask our parents for grace, patience, flexibility, and understanding as we work towards that goal.

I am asking for all residents to please stay away from school grounds and buildings as our personnel and emergency contractors have already begun some of the necessary work to restore our schools to an operable level. Additionally, our grounds are being used by many entities which are aiding in community and regional recovery efforts.

We will provide regular updates via our social media platforms and Blackboard Connect messaging system.

Finally, I cannot thank everyone enough in our parish, state, and even those outside of our state who are pulling together to support our efforts and the efforts of our community. We know it will be a long road to recovery, but we will use this opportunity to come together as we always do – because You and I…We Are St. Charles Parish Public Schools.

Dr. Ken Oertling
Superintendent
St. Charles Parish Public Schools


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August 30, 2021

Hurricane Ida Recovery Update #1

As we begin the road to recovery from Hurricane Ida I hope and pray that all of our students, families, and employees are safe and resiliently weathered the storm. We know that this will be a tough and challenging time as we begin to pick up the pieces, but we will come together as we always do to meet the needs of our students, families, employees, and entire community. We will do so with grace, adaptability, flexibility, and understanding. We will stay SCPPS strong and support each other as we always do.

Our hurricane team (including maintenance, physical plant services, and transportation employees) is out today conducting assessments of our facilities. This work will continue in the next few days as we evaluate damages and begin temporary repairs. As I am sure you are aware, the entire parish is without power, and there is significant wide-spread wind damage. We will have a more detailed report of damage in the coming days as assessments are completed. Our schools and offices will remain closed until further notice.

We will keep you updated via Blackboard Connect phone, emails, and text messages. Please also check our social media pages and the website for information. Keep in mind that we are sending out calls, emails and texts as “emergency” messages - meaning all contact numbers you provided to the school system are being contacted. Therefore, friends and family members who may be in other states and/or out of town may also be receiving these messages.

Please take care of yourselves and one another. We will get through this together and come back even stronger.

Dr. Ken Oertling
Superintendent
St. Charles Parish Public Schools


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August 29, 2021

All St. Charles Parish Public Schools and offices will be closed until further notice.  Our hurricane team is in the parish and will be conducting assessments once the hurricane passes.  We will keep you updated via the website, social media and Blackboard Connect.  Please stay safe.

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August 27, 2021

Due to Hurricane Ida, St. Charles Parish Public Schools will be closed on Monday, August 30, 2021. This includes all schools, offices, and eLearning. There is no eLearning or virtual learning required as this is a complete closure for Monday. All school and district activities and events, including athletics, are cancelled for this evening (August 27) through Monday, August 30.

A determination about the status of school beyond Monday, August 30 will be made after assessing the storm’s impact. We will continue to use the Blackboard Connect messaging system to communicate the latest information directly to our families and employees regarding the status of school. Please stay tuned to the district’s website (www.stcharles.k12.la.us) and our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) for the latest information.

Thank you and stay safe.