Greenville County Schools: Some Students to Return to In-Person School

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Greenville County Schools has always wanted to get all students back to class in-person, based on their road map and extensive plans. They announced today that all students in first grade, as well as self-contained special ed students at all grades and Level 2 classes at Career Centers will begin transitioning to in-person instruction beginning next week.

This has no bearing on students in the Virtual Program, who are always doing 100% virtual. For students who chose in-person learning, read on.

First Grade & Preschool/Elementary Special-Ed Self-Contained Students

First Grade Students and Preschool/Elementary Special Education SELF-CONTAINED Students will begin phasing in five-day a week in-person instruction over next three weeks. The schedule is below:

Week of September 28

Students will attend Monday or Tuesday based on color group.  Beginning Wednesday all first graders and preschool/elementary special education self-contained students will also attend Wednesday and Thursday.  The net result is that all students in these categories will attend in-person school three days next week (Monday or Tuesday PLUS Wednesday and Thursday)

Week of October 5

All students in these categories will attend four days of school – Monday through Thursday

Week of October 12

All students in these categories will return to five day a week, in-person instruction until further notice.

Middle School and High School Special Ed Self-Contained Students

MS and HS Special Education self-contained students and Career Center Level II Students will start phasing in four-day a week in-person instruction over next two weeks.

Week of September 28

Students attend all classes Monday or Tuesday based on color group.  Beginning Wednesday attend all self-contained classes and Career Center Level II courses on both Wednesday and Thursday.  The net result is that all students in these categories will attend school/career center classes in-person three days next week (Monday or Tuesday PLUS Wednesday and Thursday). Please note, career center students will follow the district-wide attendance plan (currently Plan 2) for their regular education classes – this change only impacts attendance at their career center classes. 

Week of October 5 and on

All students in these categories will attend self-contained classes and career center courses four days – Monday through Thursday. Please note, career center students will remain on Plan 2 for their regular education classes – this change only impacts attendance at their career center classes.

Spread of COVID-19 at GCS

The number of COVID-19 are low at GCS schools and Dr. Royster noted that very few of them contracted COVID-19 at schools. They do contact tracing for every case. The number of cases and where they are located is updated at this link.

Masks are still required at school. GCS will continue the sanitation measures that have been in place since the beginning of the school year.

This is what they stated on their site: ” All students, including 1st graders and special ed students, will be required to wear masks when transitioning (hallways, entering school). Classes at the Fine Arts Center are not included because student numbers do not allows for social distancing in all programs.”

Why just these grades are going back?

Dr. Royster said that these grades and classes have a smaller number of students in the class that allow for social distancing. For K5 for instance, they will likely split up the classes into groups so they can adhere to social distancing. They are working on those plans.

“This plan allows us to keep in place the safety and health parameters that we believe have contributed to the success we’ve had in safely reentering schools,” said Dr. Royster.

“These students require greater interaction and more face-to-face interaction,” he continued.

What about other grades?

GCS has indicated they want to bring back other grades soon: “Greenville County Schools is currently exploring options to return K4 and K5 students to full-time, in-person instruction in a manner that allows classrooms to be set up for social distancing.”

Dr. Royster also indicated that an announcement will be forthcoming about getting K4 and K5 students back in class four or five days a week.

The biggest obstacle to getting students back to in-person classes is the six feet of distance requirements.

“It would be nearly impossible to get students past second grade back to classes right now in the classroom space we have,” said Dr. Royster. “When we get up into the high schools and middle schools, getting any number larger than 17 into a regular class keeping six feet of space is nearly impossible.”

Pre-k and Kindergarten classrooms are bigger. Dr. Royster noted that for students to get back into these classrooms, DHEC would need to recommend a distance of less than six feet.

If you want to sign your child up for the Virtual Program, please contact the school district to be added to the waiting list.

We will update as more information is announced.

Is your child still learning from home? Here’s a list of virtual educational fun things to do to add some variety to the day.

Or, check out our list of educational things to do in Greenville. Get out and enjoy this beautiful fall weather!

About the Author
Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer. Originally from New Jersey, she is in love with the Upstate and could not imagine raising her kids anywhere else. She enjoys hiking to waterfalls, kayaking, camping, cooking, and exploring all that Greenville has to offer. And she really loves baby goats. Follow her on Instagram at @scadventurer.

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