In the parish of Lafayette, the school will begin on August 17 with a mixed model where students alternate classroom and distance education.
Families have the opportunity to join Lafayette Online Academy using a fully virtual learning model.
TJ Chassion, son of Lafayette Parish school board member Tehmi Chassion, said he looks forward to going to online school this year.
It enters fifth grade and is zoned for Alice Boucher Elementary School. Her family, concerned about the virus, decided it was best to make the switch.
âSo we will not be infected with the coronavirus and I will not bring it back to my family,â Chassion said. “I have two grandmothers who really like to visit me and I don’t want them to get sick.”
Allison Dickerson of the Lafayette Parish School System says many families have the same conversation as the Chassions, trying to decide whether to go the traditional route or go to school online.
The district’s online academy provides students with the same access offered by the public school system. Although the majority of learning takes place online, students have the support of local teachers.
âWe have local teachers at this institution who can help the students,â Dickerson said. âSo whether it’s remotely, calling with a question during an office hour, or if it comes to the physical learning lab and spends one-on-one time with our teachers, we have these services available. “
The online academy offers individualized learning approaches. Students have access to teachers by email, web conference, or in person at the Academy’s Learning Center. High school students even have the possibility of registering in duplicate at UL or SLCC.
Dickerson maintains that if families choose the online route, it’s important that parents stay engaged.
âYou need families who support students and make sure a routine is maintained and classwork is done,â Dickerson said.
Families are encouraged to provide their own computer, but if necessary the district will provide a device.
âIt’s usually a Chromebook and it really only provides internet access,â Dickerson said. “A laptop has more features. A lot of parents are choosing to make this investment.”
Anyone enrolled in the online academy can participate in extracurricular activities at their zoned school.
âIn addition to education, we also want to give them the other opportunities available, to have access to extracurricular activities or events that a traditional student would have,â Dickerson said.
As for TJ Chassion, he can’t wait to go back to school.
“We will be able to have a good education. We will be able to stay on track and it will not be like now … not a lot of school. We are going to have a real school,” he added. said Chassion.
The deadline to apply to Lafayette Online Academy is August 3.
The LPSS says it’s important to see what registration will look like so they know how to staff the academy and make sure they have enough computers.
If a student is enrolled in the online academy, the district says that due to the pandemic, they pledge to stay in the academy for the first semester.
For more information on the academy, click here.
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