During a Special Called Meeting of the Liberty County School Board, held July 16, Superintendent Dr. Franklin proposed that the Board approve the start of school Aug. 13 utilizing virtual learning only for the time being.
After a thorough review of the plan the Board approved the motion.
LCSS Deputy Superintendent Dr. Zheadric Barbra said the district is committed to keeping students safe. He said they held 25 meetings with stakeholders and state representatives to develop a plan that would allow them to start the school year virtually until the COVID-19 pandemic diminishes and the children can safely return to in-person classrooms.
Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Susan Avant said the district had been working out all the details for months to ensure that each child can learn. She said all the students and educators will be using the Canvas System, district wide.
Each student from K-12 will receive an iPAD to be able to receive and complete their assignments. She added that Educators and Administrators are expected to be in constant communication with their students and that parents should make sure students are completing their work as required.
Dr. Perry said educators will report to work July 29.
Teachers will post agendas and assignments on Canvas by 8:30 a.m. daily. Students’ work should be turned in on the day scheduled when possible. Students will have three school days to turn in their assignments if they are absent as stated in the current code of conduct.
Avant said a critical component to the success of virtual learning will be proper communication between teachers, students and parents. During the district’s pre-planning, July 29-Aug. 12, teachers will reach out to parents and students to explain how students can find their assignments and the various ways they can reach out to communicate with their teachers. All teachers will have a virtual office hour between 3-4 p.m. daily. School Administrators are expected to communicate with staff, students and parents at least once a week. Teachers must provide virtual sessions daily to include whole group, at least twice a week, small group and individual instruction.
Teachers will use Canvas to monitor attendance, virtual meetings and assignment submissions. Elementary students’ attendance will be based on daily log in. Students in grades 6-12 must log in to every class daily. School Social workers are available to contact parents who are not meeting attendance requirements.
Avant explained that elementary schools will follow an “A” and “B” schedule to balance the workload. Reading, English, Language Arts and Social Studies would be instructed on day “A” with Math and Science scheduled for day “B.”
Middle and High School students will be following a block schedule like what they would have followed in the buildings.
Avant said assignments should be standards based and will be graded. Teachers are to follow the expected grading requirements of their schools and must communicate those to students and parents.
All LCSS staff is expected to be professional during virtual classes to include proper attire, social media use and office hours. Staff and employees will follow an 8-hour work schedule Monday through Friday. Teachers who are unable to work due to illness, even working from home, must submit the leave forms so the LCSS can set up a substitute educator as required.
Avant said that teachers will report to school buildings one day per week as determined by the Principal of the school.
Students who have current individualized education programs (IEPs) will be provided a free, appropriate, public education (FAPE) to include the supports and services in their current IEP. Students who are served in Co-Teaching classes will benefit from two teachers working together to provide a general education curriculum in Canvas. They will schedule small group and/or individual sessions to provide specially designed instruction and supplemental materials. Significantly impaired students, who may be unable to access Canvas will be provided whole, small group and individual sessions with Exceptional Learning Teachers and staff.
LCSS Executive Director for Student Services, Dr. Kathy Moody said school counselors will be prepared to meet the social and emotional needs of the students. Counselors will consult with classroom teachers to address students’ needs and develop guidance lessons appropriate for each grade level. Counselors will virtually conduct individual and group lesson to address academic achievement, career planning, discuss how to manage stress and anxiety and address any mental health concerns.
The LCSS plan also includes information on meal distribution. Parents who want their children to receive meals, whether free, reduced price or full pay, must fill out a Meal Request Form and submit it to the school system no later than July 28. Only students enrolled in the Liberty County School System are authorized to receive meals. The form is available online. Meals begin Aug. 13.
“It is very important that the school system has up to date contact information, a signed LCSS Code of Conduct form and how families choose to participate in the Virtual Learning Meal Plan,” a statement from the LCSS read. “This questionnaire can be found in the Breaking News of the Liberty County School System district website. Please understand that a form must be completed for each student. LCSS will not be able to issue iPads or meals until a completed form is received for each student.”
Dr. Perry said right now they don’t have a date when virtual learning will end, and regular school reopen. He said that will be determined by course of the COVID-19 virus.
For more information on the various aspects of the school openings visit: https://www.libertyschools.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=240528&type=d