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Concordia Parish students can return to in-person classes starting Monday

VIDALIA — Concordia Parish students who were scheduled for hybrid classes will be returning to in-person classes four days a week starting Monday, school officials said.

Concordia Parish Schools Superintendent Whest Shirley said the school board voted unanimously in a special-called meeting Monday to enter into Phase 3 of reopening the public schools, which would bring back approximately 45% of students for in-person classes on Monday through Thursday.

All of the district’s school principals shared their plans and voiced some concerns for reopening in the COVID-19 pandemic, Shirley said.

“Most of the teachers and parents feel that it’s time to bring them back to school. Our numbers are manageable. We have approximately 55% of students still doing fully virtual classes,” Shirley said.

Board member Raymond Riley said he did not take the decision to bring students back lightly.

“I hope and pray that we’re doing the right thing,” Riley said. “It’s very important that parents let the school district know if their child is sick with COVID and not just keep them home without letting us know what is going on. I don’t believe this virus is going away any time soon and people need to take it seriously.”

At the beginning of the school year, parents were given the option to enroll their children in either fully virtual lessons or place them into a hybrid schedule that had students attending face-to-face classes at least twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Fridays are set aside for staff development and remediation classes for some students, Shirley said.

Shirley said Monterey High School has very few students doing virtual classes only, about half at Vidalia’s schools are doing virtual classes and 60% to 70% of Ferriday students are doing virtual classes.

“It’s time for things to get back to normal. The hybrid classes have worked out great but nothing can replace what those teachers do face to face,” he said.

Shirley said students who enrolled in fully virtual classes would have the ability to switch to in-person classes after the first nine weeks of school ends on Oct. 13.