September 28, 2020

Sunday School News: Heard County prepares for First Day back

Heard High Cheerleaders, Community Partnership, School Staff, and Little Helpers at Saturday’s ‘Back-To-School Bash’ at HCHS (Photo: Heard County Community Partnership)

(Franklin, GA) — Students will return to Heard County schools this Wednesday, August 5 for the first face-to-face instruction since March 13, 2020.

When in-person classes shut down for the first day on Monday, March 16, the impending pandemic was but a blip on the radar for any in the West Georgia area as there were only two confirmed cases in Coweta County and zero cases in Heard, Troup, or Carroll Counties.

As of today (August 2), among those same four West Georgia counties alone there are now 5,302 total confirmed cases and 134 people have died with COVID-19.

Local school systems and Boards of Education have all faced very difficult decisions as President Trump and the CDC have recommended that children return to brick and mortar learning environments this fall.

While other area systems have delayed openings or will start school virtually, Heard County will be one of the first in the area to reopen this Wednesday.

The decisions about reopening have been especially difficult for Heard County leadership with the lack of a viable internet connection in many parts of the county making the choices even more difficult.

About 200 students or roughly 10% of Heard County’s total enrollment number for all five schools have made the decision to begin instruction online while the other 90% will try to once again find some normality in the extraordinarily abnormal times.

Citing the overall desire of the community as a driving force to reopen, Heard County Superintendent Rodney Kay says the work put in by the school system’s staff during these uncertain times has been the key in getting ready for this Wednesday’s return to the classroom.

“We have busted our tails for a month and a half to prepare for a world of uncertainty, but we’ve made it happen because the community we serve wanted us to go back to school. Our community wants their children back in school and we want them there also,” said Kay in a statement to The Heard Citizen.

“I want to commend the faculties at all of our schools for their willingness to saddle up and come back to serve our community! We have dedicated men and women who continue to serve selflessly in technology, maintenance, transportation, and school nutrition, all for one goal — to get our kids back. They have worked so hard to put plans in place and give our teachers the things they need to begin the year.”

The term “One Brave Nation” may never mean more than it does in the fall of 2020 as Kay adds that the community’s help, understanding, and support will be crucial to a successful reopening plan.

“People continue to remind me constantly, ‘how schools need to be flexible’ during these times, but I would also like to remind our community that there is a need for flexibility on their part as well,” said Kay.

“I’m always very transparent so what do I mean by a ‘flexible community’? Longer car rider lines can be expected. People will be inconvenienced by some of the things we have to do. People will be inconvenienced because ‘how we’ve always done it’ just may not be possible this year.”

Now in his 4th year as Superintendent and 13th year with the Heard County School System, Kay realizes the need for better county-wide internet service has never been greater than during this pandemic — especially with each student being issued a Chromebook.

“The need for equal access to high speed internet has been a problem that has been highlighted over and over by our school system to our congressmen,” Kay adds. “Until someone champions this cause and people in charge realize bandwidth is just as important as electricity, we will continue to have gaps in rural communities.”

Due to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, there will be a lot of changes when the students return to school this week.

One major change will be the requirement of masks to be worn by all bus riders, the school system announced earlier this week via YouTube video (See video below) from Director of Student Services Brent Tisdale.

The decision was made upon Kay’s recommendation at last Tuesday’s BOE meeting and was approved unanimously by the board.

While several preventative health-related measures will be put into place at all schools, masks will not be required other than on the buses.

The Brave Nation will not be alone statewide, as Jefferson City Schools were the first to return to face-to-face learning on Friday.

Back to School Bash — The Heard County Community Partnership drive-thru event took place Saturday morning at HCHS and received very positive reviews from within the community. Many parents commented they would like to see this same format used again in the future. Heard High Cheerleaders were a big help at the event along with school staff and other partnership volunteers.

Softball Scrimmage Update — The Lady Braves scheduled softball scrimmage versus Alexander was moved from UWG due to collegiate restrictions and will instead be played at Heard High this Thursday, August 6 at 5:30 PM. Like Heard County Braves Softball on Facebook for further updates this season.

Open House — Each school held their respective open houses this week where students and parents were able to gather valuable info and contacts for the upcoming school year.

Georgia’s Path to Recovery — Click here to read more about The State of Georgia’s ‘Path to Recovery’ for K-12 schools.

New Precautions — Click here to read about new precautions being taken at the three elementary schools. Click here to read about the new precautions being implemented at HCMS and Heard High.

Nice Job Mrs. Bonner — HCES Assistant Principal Maggie Williams Bonner was recognized by the Heard County School System Facebook after she spent countless hours on a self-directed project to bring online forms to the system. Her work of converting forms and streamlining the process for all Heard County stakeholders was especially beneficial for the open house process this year.

Hall of Fame Night — The induction of this year’s class into the Heard County Athletics Hall of Fame is scheduled to take place prior to the first preseason football game versus Alexander at Staples Stadium on Friday, August 21.

Chromebook Pickup for Virtual Learners — Chromebook pick-up for K-5 Virtual students will be August 10-11. All courses will open August 12. More information will be shared during parent orientation.

FREE Breakfast — For the third year in a row Heard County School System students will receive free breakfast. The Heard County School Nutrition Department has worked hard to procure this for students.

Comments

  1. Kim Ferrell Caffee says

    Let’s say a prayer for Natalie Jones she is still missing its been just 2 days shy of a month. Her mother and her 2 boys want to see, hug and hold their momma and Elaine can’t wait to hold her babygirl in her arms and tell her she loves her so much, Natalie we miss you so if you can please come home to these babyboys much love, God please give Natalie the strength to reach out for help 🙏 and peace lord we want her back home safe with her family one way or another so that the family may have closure

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