Parish schools, colleges reopen Monday following Gustav, Ike

Staff reports

Schools in Ascension Parish were scheduled to reopen Monday, some having been closed more than two weeks after hurricanes Gustav and Ike plauged the parish.

After parish public schools on the east bank reopened Tuesday, schools on the west bank were scheduled to resume classes Friday after regaining power Thursday. However, plans changed as Hurricane Ike approached landfall on the Texas coast. All parish public schools were closed Friday, as most of south Louisiana experienced at least tropical storm-force winds for much of the day Friday and into Saturday from Ike.

System spokesperson Johnnie Balfantz said Thursday that the decision to close schools Friday came after Superintendent Donald Songy met with parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Rick Webre.

The only parish schools that did not open Monday was the Ascension Parish Head Start school in Donaldsonville, which was without power as of Monday. No date had been announced for its reopening as of Thursday.

Balfantz also said that all eastbank schools will be serving at least a three-component meal for lunch upon reopening.  Westbank schools were expected to serve meals ready to eat (MREs) Monday before resuming at least a three-component meal for lunch Tuesday. Students can also bring their own lunches to school if they wish to do so.

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

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.

Also, 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.

River Parish Community College in Sorrento also canceled classes Friday and reopened Monday, according to school officials.

St. Theresa School in Gonzales and St. John School in Prairieville also closed Friday and reopened Monday, officials there said.

Faith Academy and Ascension Christian School in Gonzales held classes Friday, according to an announcement on the schools’ Web site.

In Donaldsonville, Ascension Catholic Elementary and High schools reopened Monday.