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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

UPDATE: Greenville County Schools Will Start the 2023-24 School Year First Week of August

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Greenville County Schools in Greenville, SC proposed a change to the 2023-24 school year calendar In November and asked for feedback from parents and staff. They announced that results of that feedback and the new 2023-24 school calendar.

Screenshot of GCS 2023-24 calendar

New School Year Calendars Released

UPDATE: December 14, 2022

Greenville County Schools has announced that they have changed the 2023-24 school year calendar. Instead of starting school the second week of August, they will now begin August 8, 2023. The school year will end before Memorial Day Weekend on May 22, 2024.

In an email to media, GCS said: “The calendars reflect a shift to allow the fall academic semester to end prior to Winter Break. This adjustment will be academically beneficial to students, and the feedback received regarding this shift was extremely positive, with 74% of respondents in favor. Midterms, finals and state testing will be completed before students leave for winter break, rather than in January when they return to school after an extended break. “

The 2023-24 School Year Calendar

For the first time, the District is releasing two years of school calendar. Parents can see the 2024-25 school year calendar as well.

GCS said that releasing calendars two years in advance will be the new norm in efforts to help families plan further out. The 2025-26 student calendar will be determined in Fall 2023. 

To learn about the feedback GCS received from parents and to view the 2023-24 and 2024-25 student calendars, click here.

Original Post (November 2022)

In a 53-second video, Greenville County Schools outlines their proposed changes to the 2023-24 school year calendar.

They are asking for the change in order to get all the state-required testing done before the beginning of Winter Break instead of doing it in early January when students and teachers return to the classroom.

Screenshot from GCS video

The Proposed Changes

GCS proposes that the first day of the 2023-24 school year would move a week earlier to Tuesday, August 8, 2023 instead of the usual mid-August start date.

The end of the school year would be May 22, 2024, which is before Memorial Day Weekend. Usually, the end of the school year is the first week in June.

Other school districts in South Carolina have already made this change. This current school year, 2022-23, several districts in our area including Oconee, Pickens, a handful in Greenwood, Abbeville, and McCormick, start in early August and even late July.

Feedback is Welcome

Greenville County Schools said that feedback is welcome on these new proposed changes. Parents can email the district at [email protected]. They are taking feedback through December 1, 2022.

For parents who are planners and have already booked next summer’s vacation, this could certainly hamper their plans. Other feedback we’ve seen is that parents feel that the first week of August is still in the middle of summer. Yet others think that this is a fantastic change because it’s so hard to get students back into the swing of the things right after the two-week winter break in order to take exams.

The other thing to consider is that many private schools follow the GCS calendar so those schools would likely be affected by this change as well.

Whatever you have to say, send an email over to district and let them know before December 1, 2022.

What do you think GCS should do?

Largest Nativity Scene in South Carolina at Church in Greenville, SC

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Did you know South Carolina’s largest nativity scene with life-size figures is right here in Greenville, SC? See the beautifully carved figures at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Taylors through early February. 

Christmas is centered around nativity scenes and for good reason, right? The birth of Christ is why Christmas is celebrated around the world and while there are many beautiful nativity scenes, the one at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Taylors is incredibly unique because the figures in the nativity are all life-sized and carved by an expert woodworker in Germany. 

Nativity with Christmas Trees

The Great Nativity 

The Great Nativity was revealed last year after parishioners at Prince of Peace raised money through private donations to commission the pieces, which were carved by Johanne Albl of ALBL Oberammergau, who has been in the business of woodworking and sacred art in Germany since 1556.

There are 13 figures in total: the shepherd, Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the camel, ox, donkey, three wise men, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, an angel, and a sheep.

The three wise men, also life-size, didn’t show up on time last year but they made it for this year’s nativity and are currently situated in the back of the spacious church, making their way to the nativity scene. 

The biggest sculpture in the Great Nativity is the camel, weighing in at 1,600 pounds, which is actually more than most camels weigh in real life. You can’t climb on the camel (I asked). 

About the Artist 

Johanne Albl of ALBL Oberammergau carved the Great Nativity from polychrome Lindenwood. The set is the largest ever commissioned in the family’s history. They are also one of the world’s leading firms for sacred art and architecture. 

Angel Mary and Joseph

The Albl family has been woodcarvers in Germany since the mid-1500s. They are currently in their 14th generation of artists and grew from a small village in the Bavarian Alps. 

How to See the Great Nativity 

The Great Nativity at Prince of Peace can be seen in the church anytime between 7 am and 7 pm every day, and will be up between Sunday, December 4, 2022 until February 2, 2023, the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.  

“Christmas is a busy time for everyone and if you want a moment of peace in the craziness of the holiday season, come to the biggest nativity in South Carolina so that we can all be reminded of the innocence of a child during this beautiful season of joy and peace,” said Father Christopher Smith, pastor at Prince of Peace Catholic Church.

Wise Men

Visitors are asked to be respectful when viewing the nativity since the church is a place of worship. The public is welcome at any time to visit, and is warmly invited to a candlelight celebration of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve or any of the Masses held at the Church

For more in-depth knowledge of Prince of Peace, the public are welcome to join Church Tours, which will happen on Thursday, December 15th and Saturday, December 17th at 7 pm with Deacon Michael Thompson. All are encouraged to attend.

Prince of Peace Catholic Church
1209 Brush Creek Road, Taylors

Looking for more? See Live Nativities Near Greenville, SC

Cinergy at BridgeWay: A Dine-In Cinema and Entertainment Center is Coming to BridgeWay Station in Mauldin, SC

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Have you heard about Cinergy at BridgeWay? A state-of-the-art entertainment center is coming to Greenville, SC! Cinergy Entertainment announced they will be constructing an amazing dine-in theatre, arcade, multiple escape room chambers, and bowling facility at BridgeWay Station in Mauldin. The Cinergy at BridgeWay entertainment center will join the already impressive designs of the $100 million town center coming to Greenville.

Cinergy at BridgeWay Attractions


Greenville County School Board Meeting Summaries, Policy Updates and News from GCS

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Trying to stay current on the decisions being made at Greenville County Schools in Greenville, SC? Below you’ll find current and past summaries of decisions that affect families in the Greenville County School system.

Bookmark this page to stay on top of GCS news!

Looking for more information on Greenville County Schools? Our Guide to Greenville County Schools is full of information families need like: school calendars, menus, registration information, transportation service, and lots more!

Greenville County School News and Updates

School Districts’ News & Updates Page For Spartanburg County, South Carolina

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Looking for school news from the seven school districts in Spartanburg County? On this page, you’ll find the most recent news affecting students and parents in Spartanburg County School Districts. We’ll update as new information on masks, school closings, safety policies, and other things affecting the school day and your family as they are announced.

You’ll find the most recent news right at the top of the page. Then you can look at past press releases and announcements by district below.
Bookmark this page and check back frequently to stay informed.

Looking for information on Spartanburg School Districts? Check out our Guide to all 7 School Districts in Spartanburg County. You’ll find school calendars, helpful links, menus, and more.

New! Updates from All Of The School Districts in Spartanburg County

This article includes:
News from Spartanburg District 1
News from Spartanburg District 2
News from Spartanburg District 3
News from Spartanburg District 4
News from Spartanburg District 5
News from Spartanburg District 6
News from Spartanburg District 7


FREE COVID-19 test sites in Greenville and Spartanburg, SC

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Are you looking for Covid-19 testing in Greenville or Spartanburg, SC? The kids are back at school. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still here. In an effort to identify and treat those who need care, as well as help curb the spread of COVID-19, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has a list of places where you and your family can receive COVID-19 testing for free in the Upstate.


Mask and Social Distancing Update From SC Department of Education and DHEC

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Due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections, some changes are being made to masking requirements and the determination of close contacts within the schools and buses in South Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Education is again requiring students on school buses to wear a mask. Additionally, DHEC has updated the distance required to close contact a person who tests positive to 6ft.

What does this mean for Upstate, SC school districts? Here’s what we know.

SCDE mask updates and DHEC

Greenville County Schools Board Special Called Meeting on School Opening Protocols: Meeting Summary

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The Greenville County School Board held a special meeting on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021 discussing the school opening protocols for Greenville County Schools. In case you were not able to listen in virtually to the meeting, here is a summary of items discussed that will affect Greenville County School families.

For more on Greenville County Schools, bookmark our Greenville County Schools News page where you’ll find all news updates that affect families in the Greenville County School district. You can also check out additional education options available to students in Greenville, SC.

Note that this is a rapidly changing situation, and there is some discrepancy in recommendations, requirements and laws from various bodies in the state. These protocols may change.

For parents who are not comfortable with these protocols, Greenville County Schools is reopening registration for virtual school, up until capacity for that program is reached. The capacity for that program is 5% of the students in Greenville County Schools, after that amount Greenville County Schools will lose some funding.

GCS Return to School FAQ’s

From Greenville County Schools: “GCS has prepared a list of answers (attached) to frequently asked questions by parents regarding COVID-19 protocols.” Here’s a link to the GCS Return to School FAQ’s.

Masks in Greenville County Schools

Greenville County Schools must comply with 2021-22 State Budget Proviso 1.108 when it comes to masking. This means they legally cannot require masks for students or staff. In addition to being illegal, the district would lose 30% of their general fund budget, roughly $200 million.

  • Masks are not required in school or on buses.
  • Mask opt-out forms are no longer required.
  • Masks are optional for all students and staff.
  • Masks must be worn in the health room when a person is symptomatic before being sent home.

Distancing in Greenville County Schools

  • GCS will attempt to distance students 3 ft apart whenever possible indoors. Distancing will not be maintained outside.
  • Principals have been asked to limit large assemblies of students, particularly when keeping students 3 ft apart is not possible. In some situations it will not be possible.
  • Schools will be contact tracing to determine when students and staff need to quarantine.
  • GCS will not be grouping students or staff by masking choice or vaccination status.

Quarantining After Exposure in Greenville County Schools

The quarantine procedures in place for Greenville County Schools are required by DHEC.

Students who have been within 3 ft of a person who tests positive for 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period will be required to quarantine.

  • Students will quarantine for 10 days and then may return to school masked for days 11 to 14 of the quarantine.
  • If students do not want to wear a mask, they will quarantine for 14 days.

Staff who have been within 6ft of a person who tests positive for 15 minutes or more over a 24 hours period will be required to quarantine.

  • Staff will quarantine for 7 days, and may return masked providing they have had a negative Covid-19 test between days 5 and 7 of their quarantine.
  • If a staff member does not wish to mask, they will quarantine for 14 days.

Students and staff who provide proof of being fully vaccinated after exposure, and who remain without symptoms, do not need to quarantine.

  • Greenville County Schools will not ask about vaccintation status outside of exposure situations.

What Happens When a Student Isolates or Quarantines?

Teachers must either live stream their class OR provide work to be sent home.

What Happens When a Teacher Must Isolate or Quarantine?

If a teacher is NOT symptomatic, the teacher can teach from home. A substitute will be in the classroom with the children, but the teacher will provide the instruction virtually by being live-streamed into the classroom. This does not count as sick time for the teacher.

If the teacher is symptomatic, there is a provision in place for up to 80 hours of Covid-19 leave for teachers outside of the normal sick leave available to teachers.

Other Protocols and Changes to Note

  • High touch surfaces will be regularly disinfected.
  • The air quality system turns air over 3 times per hour when the building is occupied.
  • Most plexi-glass has been removed from the classroom. Staff have the option of plexi-glass at their desks if they desire.
  • Water fountains will be turned ON.
  • Visitors will be allowed with normal procedures.
  • Gym locker rooms are open and students will likely change for PE.


Greenville County Schools will not tolerate any bullying of students or staff members. This includes bullying over mask choices or vaccination choices.

Local 4th Grader’s New YouTube Channel is Featured on Nightly News with Lester Holt

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Quarantine couldn’t stop 10-year-old homeschooler Zoe Giles of Greer. Instead of giving into boredom, she decided to teach kids how to make healthy and delicious creations in the kitchen through own cooking show on YouTube, Kids Cooking with Zoe.

Maybe she has found her new calling. Despite only starting a month ago, she has already been featured on both local and national news. Just recently, she even appeared on Nightly News with Lester Holt.

Her whole family is involved. Her little brother Max is her professional taste tester and lighting director, her Dad Fred is her director, videographer, editor and dancing coordinator, and her Mom helps her pick out or create recipes, shops and makes sure she isn’t burning herself or the house down!

Zoe dreams of having her own restaurant that feeds amazing free meals to homeless people when she grows up. She enjoys the process of creating in the kitchen and discovering how amazing the end results are.

Has your kid done something amazing while in quarantine? We would love to hear about it!