Tangipahoa Parish School System will focus on opening safely and meeting all the students’ needs when school resumes in August.

As of Tuesday’s school board meeting, there will be no mandate requiring students or faculty to wear face coverings in the buildings, but that could change depending on executive orders from the governor, said Superintendent Melissa Stilley.

Students will still need to wear face coverings on school buses, as per a public transportation executive order from President Joe Biden.

Stilley specified that all school bus passengers, regardless of student grade level, will need to wear a mask. She confirmed that masks will be available with the bus driver if a student needs one to board.

School board member Randy Bush assured the public that if masks become mandated it would not be by their choice.

According to the parish school system’s current COVID-19 guidelines, temperature checks and hand washing are no longer required upon entering campus. Hand washing and social distancing as much as possible will still be encouraged although not required. Buses and classrooms will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily.

Stilley refers to the upcoming school year as “the new normal.”

She said the three main focuses of this year’s Welcome Back to School plan are opening safely; closely looking at lost instructional time, which is an extension of the district’s summer programs/ summer camps; and providing social emotional support for employees and students.

The complete plan is available on the district’s website under its Family Toolkit tab.

To help with a reported shortage of uniforms, the school system’s newly updated website has information under the Family Toolkit tab. School supplies list, an academic calendar, and other important student/ parents resources are also available under this tab.

Students will again attend a “soft start” during the first two days of school with those in grades PreK through 8th grade attending one of two days based on last name and high school students attending one of two days based on grade level. Chromebooks will be distributed and updated on these days.

The district’s Back to School pep rally for employees is set for Aug. 6 at Southeastern’s University Center.

“Summer camps built a lot of momentum and a lot of excitement, and we just want to continue that at the rally on Aug. 6,” Stilley said.

The district’s STREAM-liner bus is set to debut fully-equipped and ready to roll during the event.

Also Tuesday, the superintendent and school board members reflected on former school board member and longtime educator, Theresa Domiano, who died Sunday.

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