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Two Medical Professionals attend Evangeline School Board Wednesday

By nearly a unanimous vote, the Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday approved a recommendation by school teachers and employees on a revised school calendar. The adopted calendar calls for the start of school to be August 24 and end June 4. The new calendar calls for the same number of holidays as the previous calendars had. School Superintendent Darwan Lazard said a survey of 655 employees showed that 70 percent of the staff chose that calendar over a calendar that called for the start of school just after Labor Day. Two medical professionals addressed the school board members. Dr. Tina Stefanski, Region Four Director of the Louisiana Department of Health and Dr. Chuck Aswell, well known local physician. Both speakers commended the school board for their efforts in following the guidelines from state and federal agencies in an effort to keep students and employees healthy and safe. Stefanski announced that a recent study from South Korea showed children age 10 and younger is much less likely to spread the virus to other people. The patients with the worst outcomes and the highest mortality rates continue to be seniors and those with health issues such as high blood pressure. Dr. Aswell commented that young children are not known to spread the Covid 19 virus. He said it is safer for children to attend school than go to a store. In contrast the Swine Flu virus a few years ago attacked young children. He said there has been a lot controversy over whether case numbers in the state are accurate. Aswell said you can believe the data Stefanski's department gives us is top notch and correct. Dr. Chuck remarked that Evangeline Parish has the lowest mortality (Death) rate in the state. He attributes the low rate to local doctors prescribing the proper medicine right at the start. Supt. Of Schools Darwan Lazard reported that buses will be running at 50 percent capacity and drivers will be wearing masks as well as students. Due to the capacity issues, school buses will no longer be able to drop off students at day care centers or permitting students to switch buses as in the past. In an effort to operate safely and within guidelines, Lazard announced buses will have a seating chart and they will transport students directly to their homes for their safety. In other action the school board: --Received a report that 1500 students have signed up to attend the online classes through Evangeline Virtual Academy; The remaining 4000 students will attend regular classes; --received news that Helene Francois has been named as the new principal at Basile High School; -- approved the purchase of 1500 mobile hot spots from AT&T at a cost of $127,500 to provide mobile connectivity for students in rural areas to take virtual classes online; --received a report on the cost of insuring the 5800 student chromebooks and 400 teacher laptops. The cost was too prohibitive. Even with a $100 deductible, it would have cost the board $139,000 a year.

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