Parish schools closed today advance of Ike

Aaron Looney

DONALDSONVILLE – Parish public schools will be closed Friday in advance of tropical storm conditions expected from Hurricane Ike, school system spokesperson Johnnie Balfantz said Thursday. This includes all eastbank and westbank schools.

St. Theresa School in Gonzales and St. John School in Prairieville will also be closed tomorrow, officials there said, as will River Parishes Community College. The campuses will reopen Monday.

Four parish public schools in the Donaldsonville area were expected to reopen Friday, after being closed for more than a week following Hurricane Gustav's impact on the parish.

Donaldsonville High, Lowery Elementary, Lowery Intermediate and Donaldsonville Primary schools had power restored as of Thursday,  Balfantz said.

The Ascension Parish Head Start school, located on Lee Street in Donaldsonville, will not reopen Friday, and no date has been announced for its reopening as of Thursday morning.

Denise Heisser, director of child nutrition for the district, said Tuesday that when the westbank schools reopened, students would have meals ready to eat - or MRE’s - for at least the first day until food supplies at the schools were replenished.

Balfantz also said that all eastbank schools were serving at least a three-component meal for lunch as of Thursday.

Parents of students on any type of special diet are asked to send lunch with the students to school until further notice, Balfantz said.

Employees of Donaldson-ville schools are to follow instructions from their immediate supervisor or principal, Balfantz said. If any employee has not yet communicated with their immediate supervisor, the employees are urged to contact their supervisor as soon as possible.

Plans for makeup days will be communicated at a later date. As of now, school will be in session  Friday, Sept.19, which was a previously scheduled student holiday.

In a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday in the East Ascension High School cafeteria, Superintendent of Schools Donald Songy said that all public schools on the parish's east bank opened Tuesday with little incident.

“We had roughly about 90 percent of our total enrollment in class today,” Songy said. “That about an average day for us.”

All but six parish eastbank schools served MREs to students Tuesday.

Balfantz also said Thursday that the system’s open enrollment period scheduled for Monday, Aug. 25 through Friday, Sept. 5,  has been extended. The new dates are Monday, Sept. 15 through Wednesday, Sept. 17.

To speak with an enrollment specialist, applicants will need to phone the call center toll free at 1-866-715-5847 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. It is not necessary to call unless charges or additions are required to plan benefits.