Today, Greenville County School Board met and provided a COVID update.
This week, all students are attending on a 2-day schedule. Due to it being a holiday week some students will still only attend one day this week as Monday was a holiday.
Greenville County Schools determine the schedule based on an average of three data points provided by SC DHEC. The two-week average is released each Monday. For the weeks, July 12-August 9, Greenville County’s average was high. The average moved to medium the week of August 16. This Monday, Greenville County moved back to high.
GCS has stated that they intend to give parents five-day notice (unless there is a dramatic change in numbers). Since, there has not been a dramatic change and the increase was early last week, Dr. Royster, the Superintendent for Greenville County Schools, stated that it would be premature to switch back to one day a week attendance. GCS intends to stay at two-day and wait for next week’s numbers. They will still review the data each day.
How did the one day schedule work?
The one day schedule went very smoothly, according to this meeting. Only 10 children attended in-person school while contagious with COVID and only one child was sent home due to COVID exposure. Five employees were sent home due to exposure at work.
What about the reports that not all labs were reporting their numbers?
Media last week reported that not all labs were reporting their full COVID testing data to SC DHEC. Dr. Royster stated that they have been reassured that private labs are reporting all numbers and that the number of tests that had not been reported was not statistically significant. GCS is requesting exact numbers from DHEC to confirm that this is true, but due to all data being reported now, it will not affect current decisions.
Playgrounds at Greenville County Schools will reopen today.
GCS was able to receive a waiver for sports attendance requirements through the SCHSL. The waiver still requires social distancing (6 ft), masks, and other protocols.
Seating capacity at games will be 11-14%. Average capacity is 693.
Due to greatly restricted seating, only SCHSL passes will be allowed this year. Families will get first priority (2-4 tickets per GCS player). Per the SCHSL, the guest team must receive tickets (two tickets per guest team member).
GCS is installing 42 self-contained solar powered WIFI stations in digital deserts. These WIFI stations will be available for the entire community to use.
1,800 WIFI hotspots are available for schools to distribute.
In the discussion portion of the meeting, the current challenges of eLearning in particular for the younger children was discussed. Concerns for the quality of eLearning days and the impact of the lack of direct instruction were brought up.
GCS did state that the younger grades will be the first priority to bring back as the conditions allow. However, it was also stated that the small groups of students were allowing teachers to work much more closely with students. Dr. Royster stated that homebound students only spend five hours with a teacher each week but often return ahead of the class due to the one-on-one instruction.
The greatest obstacle to five-day attendance is that it’s necessary to maintain a six-foot distance right now. If you are within six-feet of someone who is contagious with COVID for over 15 minutes even with a mask on, right now you must be quarantined.
When will school go back five-day?
“When we get information that would allow us to … still maintain the health and safety of our students and staff and move forward, we will move forward as quickly as we reasonably can move forward.”
The community was asked to please follow health guidelines to help our community spread decrease so that our children can attend school.