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Ascension Parish Schools students return to campus

Michael Tortorich

Ascension Parish Public Schools opened Aug. 10, marking the beginning of an unusual school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

St. Amant High School students sit at a distance while wearing masks.

Students returned to campus for the first time since schools closed statewide in March. This time, schools are following a list of guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks and social distancing are among the measures in place.

Rachel Stevens-Townley is a parent and a teacher at Carver Primary School.

“My seventh-grade son started today virtually, and it went well minus one technical hiccup,” she said. “My fourth-grade daughter doesn't start until Thursday. As a teacher, my day went surprisingly well as we navigated the new norm.”

She said her students were “super troopers with their masks” who jumped right into learning. Also, she was proud of how her son handled virtual learning.

“It definitely helped my day knowing how well he has been prepared in the past to work so well in this newness,” Stevens-Townley said.

Jennifer Duhe said her son went to his first day of high school at Dutchtown High.

“He had a good day and came home in a happy mood. I’m glad he was able to go to school in-person. He needs that routine back in his life. I’m very pleased that Ascension Parish School Board has given us reasonable options for our children,” Duhe said.

Brittany Smith echoed similar sentiments about the return to campus.

“My two primary school children had an amazing first day,” Smith said. “They were so excited to be back in the classroom.”

Brandi Wells Bourgeois said her daughter started first grade at Lake Elementary. She was one of only three students due to the staggered week.

“It will be the full class on Friday which is 19 students. She’s excited and loves her teacher,” she said.

Heather Lynn, both a parent and teacher, said the day went much smoother than she imagined. Her high school and middle school students “had nothing but praises” about the first day back.

“The kids were amazing at keeping masks on and getting things done,” she said. “Teachers were awesome in getting morning and afternoon routines done as well. We had a great day.”

Pauline Wright Boudreaux said her kids were excited to go back to school.

“They said they didn’t get to see many kids outside of their classrooms and it was strange eating lunch at their desks, but they were still happy,” she said.

Margaret Lee sewed a mask for her grandson to return to school. She said there was a bit of confusion about the day he was supposed to go back.

“Only one person is allowed to get email from the school. This makes it hard for the other parent, guardian and grandparents to know what's going on,” she said.

Yesenia Perez has students at Prairieville Primary and Dutchtown High.

“It was great to see the smiles on their faces when they got home. They said the teachers and students all were wearing masks and staying distanced without any complaints,” Perez said.