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Parents upset with Houston County Schools Board of Education's handling of COVID-19 precautions

At the Houston County Board of Education meeting, a parent told the school board she is not happy with the COVID-19 precautions

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — At the Houston County Board of Education meeting Tuesday night, a parent told the school board she is not happy with the COVID-19 precautions.

Caly Hess said parents are upset that that the deadline switching their kids back to virtual learning has passed and now Houston County cases are surging. Hess addressed the board at their meeting Tuesday She said she spoke on behalf of parents and teachers who are nervous to come forward.

 “I came here to give our teachers a voice. I am not a teacher, but I also cannot be threatened into silence. I was going to be obnoxious and read off from the couple dozen statements I received from teachers and staff in this county about how they are scared, frustrated, overwhelmed, and feeling let down by this board,” said Hess.

“Here I am, telling you how I feel about your leadership during this crisis as the numbers continue to soar in our county,” she said.

Right now, the county reports positive cases at 27 schools -- that's more than two-thirds of their buildings. They say more than 500 students and staff are quarantined due to possible exposure at school.

She ended by asking board members to resign.

“You have failed your responsibilities, and I humbly request you resign,” she said.

We reached out to the school board, and Superintendent Dr. Mark Scott sent us this statement in response:

“As we work to deliver quality education in the midst of a pandemic, we are thankful for the guidance of the Department of Public Health. Currently we are just over half-way through the school year, with today marking 91 days of school. We are pleased to have been able to offer our parents an option of face-to-face or distance learning, with the first choice offered before the first semester. In November, parents had another chance to choose their learning options for the second semester. Choices were made the week before Thanksgiving, during a time when COVID cases were increasing. The timeline allowed schools to plan based on enrollment, which impacts student scheduling, class sizes, proper staffing, and operations overall, especially when adhering to COVID safety guidelines. To best meet the needs of all students and staff, this was the final opportunity to choose this school year. To have students continuously transitioning in and out of classes, especially in addition to continuing instruction for students who are quarantined, would not be conducive to learning. We are thankful for our Board members and their leadership during this unprecedented time, as well as the support of our parents and community overall.”