Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry said the system wants to do what is best for the outgoing senior class, in terms of graduation, but admitted no one is quite sure what their plans are for now.
“We just don’t know,” Perry said, adding he knows things have been tough for this year’s senior class.
“They worked hard for 13 years and now we get to this point where we are in this situation,” Perry continued. “With the coronavirus we don’t know whether we will be able to gather…we don’t know anything. The Governor has us on this plan to stay put until May 13. I’m hoping that after that we will know something. We certainly considered a virtual graduation, but I can tell you that the students and parents don’t want that. We want to do the best for our children, but we just don’t know what that is right now.”
Perry said one possibility is to host a graduation ceremony once the all clear is given, even if that means doing so in the fall or early winter.
Perry discussed a variety of topics during a meeting Monday morning hosted by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce through teleconference.
Perry said that 4,300 students were benefitting from the LCSS Grab and Go meal program. He said this week the school system is on spring break and Second Harvest was going to step in for the week to continue offering the meals.
“But today we had to cancel it because the weather was so bad,” Perry said. “Hopefully we can get back out tomorrow.”
A suggestion was made to have the bus route deliveries go into low income areas of the county instead of having families come out to the school or other drop locations.
Perry said they are being flexible and have adjusted a few bus routes to accommodate those in need.
“Folks just need to let us know where they need us,” he said.
LCSS Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Susan Avant, said many educators have participated in online digital learning courses to increase opportunities for their students.
“We’ve been putting the professional learning courses out there and teachers are signing up for the courses they feel they need,” she said. She added that teachers were instructed to enrich their students’ educational experience during the digital learning process.
Avant said students who were in good academic standing will have no new assignments after May 7. She said students who need additional time will have no new assignments after May 14.
Perry added that students will not be penalized during their digital learning period.
“Fortunately, we had made it through the third nine weeks when this all started,” he said. “The next nine weeks is usually when we have testing, so we had completed probably 90 percent of our instruction for the year.”
Perry said that students that were on pace at the end of the nine weeks can use this online period to enhance their grade. He said those that needed some time to bring their grades up will be able to do so during the digital learning period.
Perry said digital learning went is going well.
He said the timing of them having to close schools was less than ideal but added that online learning has forced kids and some parents to take personal ownership and responsibilities for their own education.
“These are times that we have not seen before,” Perry said. “But we’ve made it thus far and we feel that we will make it through. We know how to educate our children we just don’t know how to get rid of this virus.”
Perry added that the LCSS is preparing to meet any new challenges for the next school year.