Schools wait for guidance on closures

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

As of now public schools are shuttered until April 20 due to coronavirus concerns, but campus custodians in Jeff Davis Parish were at work Monday morning doing extra cleaning.

Superintendent of Schools Kirk Credeur said custodians were prepping the school as they do before any extended holiday or summer closure.

“We have new equipment that allows us to basically fog buses and classrooms with disinfectants, then everything is wiped down,” he said. “Really, this is something we would do before closing down for a holiday like Christmas.”

While school districts around the state and nation are deciding whether or not to continue school breakfast and lunch programs during shutdowns, Credeur said Jeff Davis cafeterias are closed for now.

“It’s a complex situation to try to continue feeding programs at all schools,” he said. “There are a lot of factors that make it almost impossible for a rural district like ours to continue serving all students a meal.”

School employees are currently receiving their normal salary while campuses are closed, and Credeur said he knows many are either caring for their own children or babysitting others’ because of the sudden class break.

“We would be asking people to come to work at their current salary while others are able to be home collecting the same salary,” he said. “If we would try to pay time and a half, we’re looking at losing $4 to $5 per meal. It does not make financial sense.”

In addition, the schools would still need to meet health code requirements, meaning food temperature would have to be maintained at all times during transportation.

“We could not meet every requirement if we are using our buses to transport food around the parish,” Credeur said.

As for summer vacation, he said there is no word yet on how, or if even, the sudden five-week break will impact future time off. There is also no word on how annual state testing will be affected.

“There are a lot of things up in the air right now,” Credeur said. “There is a lot of gray area on how we should proceed.”