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Bleckley County Elementary keeps news show going despite COVID-19 closings

They upload videos to their YouTube channel and plan to incorporate students' home-made videos into the newscast.

BLECKLEY COUNTY, Ga. — Before the COVID-19 school closings, Bleckley County Elementary's classes started off each morning watching the BCES BEST News team lead by Counselor Vonda Bryant.

"They have to be here by 7:30 every morning. We shoot as soon as they get here, we practice and we shoot and we upload it right then," Bryant said.

Fifth grader Annabelle Land was on the newscast back in August, following after her sister, Maddy, who did it three years ago.

"We have weather, we do announcements, we have a person that announces birthdays everyday. We have someone that works the computer, that works the TV, and we have someone that works the camera," Land said.

Now that students are no longer at school, Bryant and her colleague, Tanya Manning, had to make some changes to the broadcast.

"We came in and of course we were social distancing, but we let our principal come on and she did the birthdays and some announcements and we're going to do that every week, once a week," Bryant said.

"We are thinking of adding some student videos, you know incorporating their input into the news program so that should be interesting," Manning said.

Which was news to Annabelle Land, who thought her year with BEST News was over.

"No they didn't, I'm so excited! I love that they're trying to make an effort because I just really miss them and I just want to see them," Land said.

Her sister Maddy says while everyone may be alone for now, it's one way they can all feel together.

"They're doing it to connect with their students and make things feel a little more normal through this chaos," Maddy Land said.

Bryant says they upload a new video every Friday by lunchtime.

You can find all of their newscasts on YouTube by typing BCES BEST News into the search bar.

Bryant says students audition for the show at the end of their 4th grade year.
There are six students working a show at time. 

They rotate every 4 weeks and there is a total of about 30 fifth graders in their news program each year.

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