Liberty Co. School System gives update on reopening of schools

Liberty Co. School System gives update on reopening of schools
school generic (Source: WMC Action News 5)

LIBERTY CO., Ga. (WTOC) - The Liberty County School System gave an update on how they plan to reopen schools.

They say they plan to follow the Minimal/Moderate Spread path from the “Georgia’s Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools” for the opening of schools in August 2020.

They answered the following questions on their website:

  • Will the 2020-2021 school year begin in the school buildings on August 4, 2020? Yes, at this time, our school buildings will be open for students on August 4, 2020. However, that could change if the state tightens restrictions telling us that we need to keep them closed.
  • What should parents do if they are concerned about sending their students back to school buildings? Parents should review the attached "Georgia's Path to Recovery for K-12 Schools" (Minimal/Moderate spread path) as well as these frequently asked questions. Parents should then complete the survey at http://lcss.info/2020 to inform the school system of their intent for their students to return to onsite instruction or continue virtual instruction with the Liberty County School System. If parents have further questions, they can contact 912-321-1942.
  • If parents choose to keep their students at home and commit to the Liberty County School System Virtual Learning path, will they be allowed to transfer back to “onsite” instruction at a later date? Parents will be asked to commit to a specified time such as 9 weeks or possibly a semester if they choose the Virtual Learning path. After this specified time is concluded, their students will be able to transfer to “onsite” instruction. The specified time limit they will have to commit to has not yet been determined
  • Will schools follow social distancing guidelines in the classroom? Yes, school principals will work with teachers and staff to work out the logistics of social distancing at their individual sites.
  • Will COVID-19 affect class sizes? The system will make every effort to keep class sizes down as much as possible.
  • Will students and teachers be required to wear masks? Wearing masks will be encouraged for both staff and students
  • Will schools follow social distancing guidelines in the lunchroom? Schools will have lunchrooms sectioned off to adhere the best they can to social distancing guidelines. It is also possible that students will eat meals in the classrooms. Meals will be served on disposable plates.
  • Will social distancing guidelines be followed on the buses? It will be difficult to social distance on the buses, but students will be separated as much as possible. Buses will have hand sanitizer available for students and students will be encouraged to wear masks. Windows will be opened when possible for better ventilation.
  • Will elementary students have recess if social distancing guidelines are still in place? Elementary students will be allowed outdoor recess time. The plan for how students will “social distance” on the playground has not yet been determined.
  • Will there be hands-free water dispensers for students to refill water bottles? The newly renovated schools will have hands-free water dispensers (for filling water bottles) installed. We are currently looking at ways we can retrofit existing water fountains to add this feature.
  • Will parents be notified if their student was exposed to COVID-19 while at school? Yes, and Dr. Perry and Dr. Moody will reach out to the Department of Public Health for guidance. DPH handles contact tracing procedures and will guide Dr. Perry on steps regarding the quarantine process, including suggested timeline.
  • What will happen if a student or a teacher is determined to be ill while they are at school? Symptoms will be evaluated by the school nurse and based on this evaluation, staff members may be sent home and students may remain in isolation, with supervision, while parents are contacted to pick them up.
  • If a student has a fever, will they be required to stay home the typical 24 hours or will they need a doctor note to return? Yes, and depending on the student’s symptoms, he/she may be asked to provide the school with a doctor’s note before returning.
  • Is it possible for students to do 100% virtual learning and if so, how will that be determined? Yes, there will be an option for students to participate fully in their learning via 100% virtual learning. Parents will signal their initial preference for this model while completing the survey at lcss.info/2020. More information will come later in the summer.
  • Will students be provided devices for the virtual learning option? All K-12 students will have an opportunity to check out a school-issued iPad to participate in virtual learning. Insurance on these devices will be recommended and can be purchased on the district webpage.
  • If parents choose 100% virtual learning for their students, will the district deliver meals to them? Due to the fact that buses will be needed to transport students who are attending “onsite” instruction, the system may be unable to accommodate feeding students who are participating in virtual learning. However this all depends on the number of students who select onsite and virtual learning.
  • Will students who are attending 100% virtual school be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities? The system plans to allow those students who select the virtual learning pathway to have access to extracurricular activities at the school which they are zoned to attend. However, the final plans for how this will be implemented have not yet been determined.
  • Will high school course offerings be limited such as LCCA classes, Dual Enrollment, or onsite opportunities? LCCA courses will be offered on-site, but Fall semester coursework will focus on introductory courses which require less lab activity. For Spring semester, the advanced courses (which require more hands-on activities) will be offered. Dual Enrollment courses will be available based on the college offerings and college schedules.
  • Will LCCA students be able to complete internships to receive their industry credentials? LCCA is working with our local business and industry partners to provide our Spring internships; however, we will follow CDC guidelines and recommendations in place at that time.
  • How will IEPs be affected? All IEP services will be provided, to the fullest extent possible. If we have alternate schedules, it may be provided virtually and in person.
  • Will students with IEPs be allowed to do online learning if the parent requests? Absolutely. We may have some students with disabilities who are unable to access the Canvas program and may need a more individualized program. We will work together with parents and students to provide this.
  • Will IEP meetings be held virtually or in person? We can return to in person IEP meetings-following all safety precautions. If IEP members prefer, these meetings can be held virtually.
  • What will happen with students who are in Pre-K if virtual learning is required? It would be a matter of teachers making regular contact with the parents of their students providing activities that they can work on at home. Since all of the Pre-K learning is “hands-on,” digital learning is difficult.
  • How will you implement social distancing in the Pre-K classrooms? The Liberty County Pre-K Center is currently waiting on recommendations from the state early care program “Bright from the Start” on possible ways they can implement social distancing in Pre-K classrooms.
  • Will elementary students continue with departmentalization? This decision has not yet been finalized.
  • Will students still have extracurricular activities such as band, sports, etc? If so, how will that be handled? The system wants the learning environment to stay as normal as possible for both onsite and virtual learning pathways. However, the plan for how extracurricular activities will be implemented has not yet been finalized. Sports programs will follow guidance from the Georgia High School Association (GHSA).
  • What will happen with teachers/staff who have underlying health conditions that make them more susceptible to COVID-19? The system will follow the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for those teachers/staff members who are in high risk categories for contracting COVID-19 and do not feel comfortable returning to the school buildings.
  • How will it be determined who will teach the virtual classes? This will be determined by need (number of students) and the best fit for teachers.
  • Will teachers who are teaching virtually be at home or will they be in the classroom? All teachers will report to a physical location no matter how they are delivering instruction.

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