Liberty County School System re-opening sports, face-to-face instruction

Local News

HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – The Liberty County School System has announced plans to return to face-to-face instruction.

And effective Wednesday, all fall sports and other activities can re-open. This includes volleyball, football, softball, cross country, literary, one-act play, rifle, band and cheerleading.

The first football game will be on Friday, Sept. 25, between Liberty County and Bradwell Institute, both high schools in the district.

During a board meeting Tuesday, officials laid out plans for the district’s re-entry.

“We believe that due to the steps that this district took, certainly the board took, that’s allowed us now to at least consider beginning to move in the area of face-to-face instruction,” said Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry, who pulled up a model from the Coastal Health District showing a downward trend in the daily rate of new COVID-19 cases.

Liberty County schools will be taking a phased approach. The re-entry schedule is as follows:

  • Sept. 14 – all staff return to continue virtual instruction
  • Sept. 21 – identified special education students and students in grades pre-K, K, 2, 5, 8, 9, 12 and all students at Horizons return to face-to-face instruction
  • Sept. 28 – students in grades 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11 and dual enrollment return to face-to-face instruction

For families who are not comfortable returning to in-person learning, virtual instruction will remain an option. Parents will need to complete the Continue Virtual/Distance Learning form on the district’s website by Thursday, Sept. 17. Once complete, a staff member will contact the parent for further direction.

Face coverings will be mandatory for students and staff members. The board said individual concerns should be discussed with the student’s principal.

Parents are asked to conduct an at-home health screening before their child gets on the bus or arrives at school. However, the district will also conduct temperature checks and will watch for COVID-19 symptoms at the school.

Schools will be taking additional safety measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, including regular cleaning and social distancing in the classroom. Teachers will move from room to room rather than the students.

Board members also discussed certain concerns surrounding the re-entry plan.

For teachers at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, the district will follow the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which offers paid sick leave or expanded medical leave for reasons related to the virus.

A staff member brought up concerns about Labor Day and asked whether a contingency plan was in place should the county see a spike in cases around the time planned for re-entry.

“We are in good shape right now,” Perry said. “Certainly, if things changed then we would have to make those adjustments.”

“It’s going to be crucial that we all continue to practice the things that have been allowed us to get back to school,” the superintendent added.

Should the school system see a positive COVID-19 case, the principal and superintendent must be notified. They will then turn to the Georgia Department of Public Health for contact tracing and quarantine directives.

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