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Fewer teachers retiring as Louisiana schools prepare to reopen



MONROE, La. – Ouachita Parish School Superintendent Don Coker said they’ve probably seen fewer retirements and resignations in 2020 than they have in the last five years, during a webinar on Thursday.

“So, a good thing is our folks are hanging in there. They’re staying with us,” he said.

State Superintendent Cade Brumley was also on the webinar. He said, statewide, they’re also seeing fewer retirements than last year, though this could change as the year goes on.

School officials also discussed safety for the upcoming school year.

“There’s not a book that is written on this. In fact, we’re writing the book as we go,” said Brumley.

He said they partnered with the state Department of Health to set minimum standards for schools to open. These include group sizes, hygienic practices, and even how and where students will be seated on a bus.

“Any local system could be more aggressive in their safety standards, they just could not be less aggressive, less assertive,” said Brumley.

Both Superintendent Coker and Monroe School Superintendent Brent Vidrine said employees will be wearing masks unless they have a medical reason to go without one. They said they also have algorithms for dealing with sick children in school.

“We thought about all of the different situations we can think of that might would happen,” said Brumley. “If someone is in this class and they test positive, if a teacher’s spouse is symptomatic. So, we have a list of, I guess you could say, situations that we anticipate happening, and we worked the Department of Health to get their best answers for those things, so we pushed that out to school systems as well.”

Brumley said adapting to the new changes of teaching, such as virtual teaching, may take some time, but he knows they’ll figure it out.

“We’ve been doing this for a few thousand years one way, and over a few months, we’ve been expected to change. And we will, and we’ll make that happen. It’s just going to take some degree of time to get that right.”