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Long postpones start of school
Long playground
Photo by Dee McLelland Long County Schools have pushed back opening day for both virtual and “traditional” students which will keep school playgrounds empty at least until September 8.

The Long County Board of Education met in regular session Monday night in Ludowici to discuss changes to the 2020-2021 school year.

The board approved a change to the 2020-2021 school year calendar. Though the original first day of school was previously scheduled for August 10, the board released information earlier last week that the first day will be postponed until Sept. 8 for both virtual and traditional students. The board made that decision official Monday night.

Due to growing concerns regarding the national COVID-19 pandemic, the board were given a visual representation of cleaning products and procedures from school staff. According to Assistant Superintendent and Director of Support Services Heath Crane, all four schools in Long County are equipped with fogging machines for use in the event of a case of COVID-19. Crane said these fogging machines have residual effectiveness that lasts for a few hours. He used a classroom or a bus as an example of where these machines might be used.

In addition to the fogging machines, Crane brought out several bottles of disinfecting cleaners and sanitizers, explaining how each is used from cleaning floors to disinfecting frequently used items in the classrooms like pencil sharpeners and desk surfaces. According to Crane, teachers, staff, coaches, and custodians have been trained on disinfecting procedures. Crane said over 300 gallons of hand sanitizer have been delivered to the schools and hand sanitizing stations are set up inside the doors where students enter, in bathrooms, and in buses. Buses are also going to be equipped with bus monitors who will be responsible for taking students’ temperature and making sure students follow school guidelines such as assigned seating and use of hand sanitizer.

“We’re taking this serious,” Crane said. “From the floor to outside the door and even out in the buses.”

An ongoing concern among the board members and school staff is the transition time between classes at Long County High School. Principal Sherry Lester and Superintendent David Edwards told the board they have been discussing the possibility of requiring students wear masks during transitional periods and while riding on the buses, scheduling staggered releases, and marking hallways to direct the flow of foot-traffic to avoid clustering. 

“We have highly recommended students wear face masks,” Edwards said. “We want to require it during bus rides and during transitions. We don’t expect them to wear them all day, and if they have medical release not to wear masks, we’ll honor that for sure.”

The board approved the fiscal year 2021 budget and the 2020 tax digest. 

For more information, call (912) 545-2367.

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