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Caddo Schools sites will be closed Thursday and Friday after the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service show Hurricane Laura is anticipated to make landfall Thursday as a Category 4 hurricane.

The district will provide virtual instruction on both days; however, students will not be penalized if they lose power, do not have a device or are unable to access coursework.

Caddo’s decision comes as Caddo Parish is forecasting strong winds predicted to cause significant wind damage and continued rain with anticipated widespread power outages across the area comparable to Hurricane Rita in 2005.

“The safety of our students, staff and families is of the utmost importance to our district and we must take this storm seriously,” said Dr. T. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Schools. “We ask our families to take this time to shelter in a safe location through the duration of this storm while knowing Caddo will continue to provide quality instruction to our students.”

Using the district’s virtual platform, Caddo for the first time has the ability to rethink school closures due to weather or other emergency situations.

“In this new normal we have an opportunity to change the way we think about closing schools and truly close just the building while learning continues in a remote environment,” Dr. Goree said. “This presents a moment for us to evaluate our virtual learning offerings and determine what we are doing well in such an environment and what we can continue to improve upon as we navigate this school year.”

Kindergarten students, who were scheduled to start school on Thursday and Friday through a staggered schedule, will all start school on Monday.

Virtual students who receive meals weekly through the district will pick up meals on Monday afternoon rather than Friday afternoon.

Families are asked to check the district’s website for updates and to follow local news outlets as well as the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov for the latest information on Hurricane Laura and its impact on Caddo Parish.