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.