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Soft Start Days - 8/14/20

Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley said Friday that the first three “soft start” days of school have gone very smoothly, and the district’s plan to distribute more than 20,000 Chromebooks to students is off to a great start.
“It has been an amazing first week for our students in Tangipahoa,” Stilley said, noting that there were very few problems on opening day. 
Stilley said district employees deserve all the credit for this year’s incredibly smooth start.
“I am so very proud of all our employees! They showed up and pulled together to make this day a success for our students. I have never been more proud to be part of the Tangi Public Schools,” Stilley said.
Over the next three weeks, students will receive laptops, known as Chromebooks, which they will be assigned to use for classwork and home studies. Stilley said the devices are being distributed in four waves, so staff will be able to better manage the process. The first wave continues through Aug. 21 and will focus on putting devices in the hands of approximately 9,000 students in 7th-12th Grade, as these students are currently scheduled to attend classes virtually until the state moves out of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 response. 
In the second wave of device distribution, Chromebooks will be sent home with approximately 3,100 students in Grades PreK through 6 whose families have chosen to enroll them in full virtual classes. Stilley said her team plans to have computers in the hands of these students on or before Aug. 24; however, the number of students enrolled in full virtual is growing by the day. 
By the end of August, students in 3rd-6th Grade who attend classes on campus will receive their Chromebooks. There are approximately 5,800 students who will be served in this third wave of device distribution, and then the following week, students in PreK through 2nd Grade who attend school on campus everyday will receive their devices. 
In addition to Chromebooks, the district will have mobile hotspots available for families who request one. Stilley said families who would like to receive a mobile hotspot need to do two things—complete the mobile hotspot survey on the home page and when called to pick up your hotspot, bring the signed form that is required to receive the device. Only one hotspot will be assigned to each requesting household. Forms should be signed by the child’s parent; however, another designee can bring the signed form to collect the device at distribution time. Stilley said the mifi distribution schedule will be released by each individual school.
In addition to technology devices, the district is gearing up to provide drive-thru lunch sites for students who attend the district's full virtual program. Beginning on Tuesday, Aug. 18, curbside meals will be available from 10 a.m. until noon at three designated locations: Hammond High Magnet, Independence High Magnet, and Jewel Sumner High School. Meals will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays for any virtual-enrolled student. The district does require a curbside meal pick up form to be completed before meals can be retrieved. That form is available on the home page as well.
“As you can see, we have a lot of plans coming together to help our students, whether they are enrolled in traditional on-campus classrooms, virtual program, or a blend of the two,” Stilley said. The district continues to offer updated information on these and many other programs on their website and social media channels, and Stilley encouraged families to consult these resources often throughout the year.
“Finally, I want to thank all the employees who showed up and did their best to make it a smooth start to our new school year. We also want to thank our students and their families for their patience during this very challenging time. I know that we will get through this unprecedented period and we will be better and stronger because of it,” Stilley said, closing on her district’s themes, “Stronger Together,” and “Tangi Proud.”