August 2, 2021 - 2021-2022 Initial COVID-19 Guidance
Last week, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) released interim COVID-19 guidance for the 2021-2022 school year.
Key points from the DHEC guidelines:
- Reopening schools for in-person, full-time education is vitally important to ensuring students do not fall behind academically or socially.
- Vaccination is currently the leading health prevention strategy for COVID-19.
- DHEC recognizes mask use cannot be mandated per the SC General Assembly.
- DHEC strongly recommends mask use for all people when indoors in school settings, especially when physical distancing is not possible.
The following procedures will be in place for the start of the upcoming school year:
- All students who experience COVID-19 symptoms must be isolated for 10 days or until they receive a negative test result. Additional details about symptom screening and isolation will be in a future update.
- Unvaccinated students who are a “close contact” of a positive case must quarantine for 10 days. A “close contact” for unvaccinated students means exposure to an affected individual at a distance of 3 feet or closer for at least 15 minutes in a 24-hour period.
- As stated above, masks are highly recommended while indoors at school.
- Masks are required on school buses due to a CDC emergency order mandating their wear on all public transportation.
- UPDATE 8/6/2021 - Mask are also highly recommended for passengers on school buses but are not manatory at this time.
- Access to schools will be limited to students and staff.
- Students will be seated 3 feet apart in classrooms to the extent possible.
- Transitions during the day will be structured to limit close contact.
- Students will be instructed to maintain social distancing during recess and lunch.
- Regular sanitizing of classrooms will continue to occur throughout the school year.
- High-touch surfaces will be sanitized on a frequent basis.
As in the prior school year, we expect procedures to evolve as DHEC guidance changes and appreciate your understanding as we work to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on student learning. Please keep in mind that COVID-19 is a community-acquired disease and exposure to the virus is possible in any public setting. The district will continue to implement recommended procedures to limit the spread within our community.
There were very few families who expressed interest in continuing the virtual program this school year. Additionally, the SC General Assembly passed restrictions for virtual programs in the upcoming year which limit our ability to effectively serve students remotely. Due to these factors, we will not be able to offer full-time virtual learning for students for the 2021-2022 school year. Virtual learning programs are available through the state’s charter school districts.