Greenville County Schools to return on Monday, January 4
Earlier today, GCS leaders met to discuss the recent spike in COVID cases and the district’s path forward. As preparation for this meeting, specific guidance from medical officials at Bon Secours, Prisma, and DHEC was sought and discussed. In short, students and teachers in our traditional program will return to school as planned on Monday, with elementary and middle school back for five days of face-to-face instruction and high schools on Attendance Plan 2. This does not impact students in the virtual program who will continue with 100% virtual instruction.
Currently, the number of school staff who will be out next week due to COVID-related quarantines or isolations is about one-third the number from December 18. However, we will continue to monitor that metric and will put individual schools on 100-percent eLearning if they are unable to adequately and safely staff the building. As Dr. Royster has stated before, the evidence is strong that our existing safety protocols are preventing the spread of COVID in our schools. In fact, public health officials believe a failure to return to school will make the situation worse, because it is clear people have not been following pandemic guidance over the last 10 days. When students and employees are in school for 7-1/2 hours each day where protocols are implemented and monitored those actions help to mitigate the spread of COVID in our community, as compared to when individuals are free to gather with little to no monitoring. Upon return, students and teachers are asked to be vigilant about mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, and monitoring for symptoms. Families are asked to please promptly report to their child’s school anyone living in their residence with a positive COVID test, COVID exposure, or COVID symptoms.