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Rise in COVID numbers prompted virtual option
County Commission Chair reports LRMC at capacity
dr franklin perry
Dr. Franklin Perry

Liberty County School Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry said the school system tried to do the best they could to keep the kids in school but the increase in COVID numbers, especially among the school staff forced them to try a temporary return to virtual learning.

Dr. Perry spoke at today’s Progress through People Luncheon hosted by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Perry said the changes practically happened overnight.

“If you had asked me yesterday…we were talking about how we were moving through and things were doing great,” Perry said.

In fact, the Board of Education was praising the students and staff during Tuesday morning’s Board work session meeting. Dr. Perry even spoke about the importance of keeping kids in the classrooms so they could get a proper education and not create a generational curse of kids that don’t do well in virtual settings.

Board member Verdell Jones said the students and staff were all working together and being cooperative because they understood the importance of being in the classrooms.

“Our county numbers are high…but we were still willing to keep kids in school,” Dr. Perry said at the PTP luncheon. “Children were wearing their masks. But one of the concerns was our staff.

Dr. Perry said roughly 50 LCSS staff members are now under quarantine as well as 1,100 students. He explained how contact tracing was being done, but turned into an all-day process.

With the increase in number the LCSS announced they planned to move to virtual learning from Aug. 30 through Friday Sept. 10. If all goes well in-person learning will resume on Sept. 13. All LCSS staff will report to their work sites for regular work hours. 

All sports and afterschool activities will be suspended until in-person classes resume. No classes will be held from September 3-6, 2021 for the Labor Day weekend.


Perry said they want parents to fill out their online survey so they can gather information on how to proceed going forward.

“We have a survey out to try and see if we can serve our students and keep them safe,” he said. “We have 600 more students this year than we had last year. But we need to be able to spread students out. We are doing the survey to see if we can offer virtual service to those students that are able to handle that and allow the school class rooms to be smaller.”

If they offer the hybrid option Dr. Perry said some educators will teach in-person classes only while others will be dedicated to only instruct virtual classes. He said last year educators tried to offer the virtual and in-person courses simultaneously, but it wasn’t working well for the students and educators.

“We learned that lesson,” he said. Dr. Perry noted the LCSS is well-equipped to transition to virtual learning, but worries about the students who didn’t assimilate to virtual class last year.

“We are going to be pleading with our parents our students have to do their part if this is going to work,” Perry said adding some students failed to sign into their classes last year.

He encouraged people to get the vaccine and wear masks to reduce the spread. He said the community needs to figure out a way to work together and reduce the spread.

Prior to the end of the luncheon Dr. Perry turned the microphone over to Liberty County Commission Chairman Donald Lovette.

Lovette reported the dire situation happening at Liberty Regional Medical Center which is over capacity with COVID patients, 99 percent of which he said were unvaccinated.

On Thursday morning Liberty County issued a plea as their 911 center is being inundated with emergency calls. The statement read:

“Liberty County is experiencing a large increase in 911 calls for COVID-19 symptoms. At the present time, the community infection rate is extremely high. Unfortunately, not all 911 calls received are actual emergencies. This is causing ambulance crews to be tied up for extended periods which results in longer response times. If you or a family member are experiencing chest pain, trouble breathing, stroke symptoms, trauma/injury, or other reasons that would cause you to believe it is an emergency, then please call 911. Otherwise, you should consider contacting your primary care doctor, visiting an urgent care facility, and following CDC guidelines. Please be aware that Liberty Regional Medical Center is operating above capacity limits at this time and patients, including those arriving by ambulance, may experience extended wait times. Calling an emergency unit does not guarantee treatment will be provided above other previously screened patients. We will continue to monitor this situation and will update the status of operations as warranted.”



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