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.

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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

Greenville County Schools Student Covid-19 Dashboard: Use this dashboard to see Greenville County Schools Covid-19 cases by school building.

Greenville County Schools News March 2022

Tanglewood Middle School Student Shot, March 31, 2022

From Dr. Burke Royster, Superintendent, Greenville County Schools:

We are deeply saddened to hear that the student victim in the shooting at Tanglewood Middle School passed away. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his fellow students, the staff members at the school and everyone who knew this child. This is an absolute tragedy, and we will continue to do whatever we can to support his family and the Tanglewood community as they mourn the young life that was lost today.

We want to recognize the tremendous response from Principal Walles and the staff at Tanglewood, the school resource officer, Sheriff Hobart Lewis, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, EMS, and the multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies who all responded rapidly in accord with our emergency response plan.

From Dr. Graysen Walles, Principal, Tanglewood Middle School:

My heart goes out to the family of our student who passed away, and my prayers are with them. Our entire Tanglewood family is hurting with this news and from the events that took place today. Our school is mourning and will work together to heal and process this tragedy.

1:39 pm: Statement directly from Greenville County Schools regarding shots fired at Tanglewood Middle School today:

“At approximately 12:30 pm, Greenville County Schools had reports of shots fired inside the building at Tanglewood Middle School. The school resource officer immediately responded and notified law enforcement. Multiple law enforcement agencies have responded. One student has been transported to the hospital, and their condition is unknown at this time. “All students will be transported at Brookwood Church at 580 Brookwood Point Place, Simpsonville, SC 29681, where parents will be reunited with their student. Parents will not be able to pick up their student at Tanglewood. Parents will need to have identification in order to pick up their student. We will share more information as soon as possible.”

Greenville County Schools News February 2022

2/28/22: Test-to-Stay and quarantine practices are being suspended: Starting Tuesday, March 1, all Greenville County Schools locations are suspending Test-to-Stay and quarantine practices in accordance with DHEC guidance. The District has reviewed data from the last two weeks as required by DHEC and determined that no GCS schools or locations had 10% or more of their students and staff absent due to COVID-19, and less than 0.3% of students and staff were positive for COVID-19 District-wide. Therefore, all GCS schools and locations are suspending Test-to-Stay and quarantine practices related to close contact exposures until further notice. This means that all schools and locations can resume normal operations and suspend contact tracing, social distancing, and mask requirements for students and staff after an exposure.

The District will continue tracking positive cases at all schools and locations. If a school or location reaches 10% of its students and staff absent due to COVID-19 over two consecutive one-week periods, the District will notify the administration, and they will reinstate contact tracing, Test-to-Stay and quarantine practices at their location as required by DHEC. Any students who have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for COVID-19 are still required by DHEC to be excluded from school and should report their symptoms or positive test results to the school.

2/1/22: Greenville County Schools is instituting “Test-To-Stay” program starting today in order for students who have been exposed to COVID to avoid quarantine.

From GCS: “GCS students who have been identified as close contacts of someone who has COVID-19 can avoid quarantine with a negative antigen test, at-home rapid test or PCR test.  GCS can implement Test-to-Stay effective immediately utilizing the existing, free COVID-19 testing sites. Additionally, students must be symptom-free and wear a mask through Day 10.  DHEC requires that students who are not vaccinated and/or were not positive within the last 90 days must get tested on Day 5 and provide the test result prior to Day 8 to their school.  Parents will receive details about the Test-to-Stay program in Parent Backpack, and information is available at www.greenville.k12.sc.us.”

In regards to which tests are preferred, Brandi Hagman, DHEC’s COVID-19 Response Schools Coordinator, said that “(Greenville County Schools) may use Mako’s PCR tests for Test-to-Stay.  Antigen tests are preferred for the rapid results, but with Mako’s turnaround times meeting the 24-hour mark, I think the district is well-positioned to use PCR for this process.”

Greenville County Schools News January 2022

1/20/2022: eLearning Day Friday, January 21st, 2022

1/19/2022: eLearning Day Thursday, January 20th, 2022

1/18/2022- eLearning Day Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

“Due to a significant amount of ice and snow on the roads surrounding the majority of schools and on secondary and neighborhood roads throughout the county, along with forecasts for extremely low temperatures tonight, all Greenville County Schools will have an eLearning day tomorrow, Wednesday, January 19. This means schools and office buildings will be closed and all activities, including athletic events and field trips, are canceled. Because we are an approved eLearning district, this day will not have to be made up and instruction will be provided through Google Classroom. Students will complete eLearning assignments later if they are unable to participate due to power outages, lack of internet service, or other barriers. Once operations resume, school personnel will begin rescheduling events as appropriate. In the meantime, GCS District personnel will continue to monitor conditions across the county and compare forecast models to determine when in-person school can safely resume. Please check local media, the district website, and the district’s social media for the latest information on school closings or delays.”

1/17/2022 –

Due to unsafe travel conditions and forecasts for extremely low temperatures, all Greenville County Schools will have an eLearning day tomorrow, January 18. This means schools and office buildings will be closed and all activities, including athletic events and field trips, are canceled. Because we are an approved eLearning district, this day will not have to be made up and instruction will be provided through Google Classroom. Students will complete eLearning assignments later if they are unable to participate due to power outages, lack of internet service, or other barriers. Once operations resume, school personnel will begin rescheduling events as appropriate. In the meantime, GCS District personnel will continue to monitor conditions across the county and compare forecast models to determine when in-person school can safely resume. Please check local media, the district website, Facebook, or Instagram for the latest information on school closings or delays.

1/11/2022 –

DHEC has recommended the use of at-home rapid-test results to bring students back early from quarantine. Greenville County Schools will now begin accepting verification of negative at-home rapid-test results to allow students and employees to return earlier from quarantine starting Wednesday, January 12.  

Students and employees must receive District-issued quarantine guidance through the school before they submit verification of at-home rapid-test results. Schools will send the needed steps for this process to students, which can also be viewed on the district website.

1/10/2022-

  • Greenville County Schools reports high teacher absences and asks parents to have a plan in place in the event that individual schools must switch to virtual learning.
  • Decisions to switch to virtual will be made by individual school and not district-wide.
  • The schools will try to make decisions and announcements about switching to virtual by the afternoon prior.
  • GCS extended Covid-19 testing site hours.

From Greenville County Schools:
“COVID-19 continues to impact school districts across the country. Greenville County Schools—the state’s largest school district—is no exception. Today, GCS had more than 1,700 employees out of approximately 11,000 absent. The majority of these were COVID-related. These numbers are rapidly approaching a level that does not provide sufficient staff to provide an appropriate level of supervision to ensure safety or necessary support services. While we have and will continue to make every effort to maintain in-person instruction, it is more likely this will not continue to be possible. As GCS has communicated previously, we will make decisions about moving to eLearning on a school-by-school basis, not on a district-wide level.  Parents are asked to have a plan in place in the event we must shift their child’s school to eLearning.  While the District will provide as much advance notice as possible, because of the fluid nature of these circumstances, there is no way to accurately predict the number of absences far in advance. Greenville County Schools will make every effort to make these decisions the afternoon prior, and will send notifications to parents through School Messenger, the Backpack parent portal and through media outlets.

This past weekend, DHEC made additional updates to the requirements for avoiding quarantine after an individual is exposed to someone COVID-positive. GCS has already implemented these updates as required by DHEC. Last night, DHEC also updated its recommendations that schools allow the use of at-home rapid-test results for supporting decisions about early return from quarantine. GCS will share more information regarding this new option later this week.

Also, GCS COVID testing sites are experiencing longer wait times than usual due to the current surge.  Because of this, the District has extended the hours at all three sites. Students and staff are asked to preregister in order to help speed up the wait times in the testing lines.  All of this information is available on our website at www.greenville.k12.sc.us.”

1/2/22-
From Greenville County Schools: “SCDHEC has issued new requirements that reduce the length of time for COVID-19 isolations and quarantines. Greenville County Schools is required by law to follow DHEC’s requirements, and we are updating our processes effective immediately.

For students who test positive for COVID-19, the isolation period has been reduced from 10 days to 5 days, if there are no symptoms or symptoms have improved. DHEC requires students to wear a mask for days 6 through 10 when they return to school. In addition, students must provide a parent note confirming that symptoms have improved and there has been no fever in the past 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication.

For students who are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and who are not vaccinated, the minimum quarantine period has been reduced to 5 days. Quarantine can end after Day 5 if a viral test is negative AND if no symptoms were present during the quarantine period. A PCR or antigen test must be collected no sooner than Day 4. At-home tests will not be accepted. Regardless of vaccination status, DHEC now requires a mask to be worn by exposed students through Day 10 when they return to school. DHEC recommends exposed students get tested on Day 5 as well.”

Greenville County Schools News October 2021

10/13/21Policy Change Based on SC DHEC Guidance Update
Effective immediately, a masked student is NO LONGER required to quarantine if he/she is within 3-6 feet of a COVID-positive student for 15+ minutes, regardless of whether the positive student is masked. Prior to this, both students had to be masked for the close contact to be exempted from quarantining.  
If the COVID-positive student is masked but the close contact is not, a quarantine is still required. Quarantine requirements related to exposure involving a COVID-positive adult remain unchanged.
Please review the scenario graphics here.

Greenville County Schools News September 2021

9/10/21- Free Covid-19 testing begins September 13, 2021 for GCS students and staff. No appointment is necessary.

9/9/21 – change in return to school for quarantined students: GCS has changed their policy on when students can come back to school after being quarantined: “GCS students who have been quarantined due to COVID will soon be able to return to school three days earlier if they are symptom free and follow DHEC guidelines for an early release.  To qualify, students must receive a negative result on a COVID PCR test collected no sooner than day 5 of the quarantine period. As soon as the negative PCR test result has been received, that result should be submitted via email to [email protected] along with the student’s name, school, and, if available, the student ID number. As quickly as possible, GCS staff will respond via email with a revised date of return, which cannot be earlier than day 8. Students will not be allowed back in school until the GCS Medical staff has validated the test results and provided an updated return date. Again, only a PCR test will be accepted, not a rapid antigen or home test. This option is not available to students who are in isolation due to a positive COVID test. It is only for those who are on quarantine and have no symptoms of COVID-19. An interactive map showing DHEC approved testing locations is available at scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-testing-locations.

“Meanwhile, GCS has partnered with DHEC and MAKO Medical Laboratories to provide FREE COVID-19 drive-through testing at three sites across the county (Northside Park, MT Anderson, and Fountain Inn High School).  These testing sites will open next Monday, September 13 (our Northside Park location will be closed that day), and are restricted for use by GCS employees and students only.  No appointments are necessary.  Employees and students need only to present their GCS IDs and complete a consent form. These sites only conduct PCR testing, which is considered the most accurate type of test and is the only one that can be used to secure an early return from quarantine (Day 8 instead of Day 11).”

9/1/21: An update from Greenville County Schools regarding parental notification of COVID-19 cases: “Beginning Monday, September 13, Greenville County Schools will begin using Backpack to notify parents when a COVID-positive case has occurred in their child’s classroom or team. The new Backpack notification process will allow principals to automatically populate an email to parents of all students in a particular classroom. This process is faster and more efficient than our previous system of manually selecting each student’s name from the roster and entering it into a Phone Messenger system. (NOTE: Parents whose children are identified as “close contacts” will still receive a phone call from a school staff member.) Parents who have not done so already are asked to set up a Backpack account using the steps outlined in the attachment. Once a parent sets up their account,  the final step requires verification of identity and proof of custody. Parents should contact their child’s school to confirm how the school would like to receive verification documents.”

Greenville County Schools News August 2021

8/30/21: An update from Greenville County Schools regarding bus transportation: “Greenville County Schools is asking the parents of bus riders to provide transportation to school for their children or drive carpools to transport the children of friends and neighbors if they are able to do so.  The bus driver shortage in Greenville County Schools continues to worsen.  On Friday, GCS was more than 100 drivers short due to absences and a shortage of people who are qualified to drive a bus.  Reducing the number of bus riders in Greenville County Schools will allow us to more efficiently serve those students who have no alternative means of transportation.  (Parents of bus riders who are able to drive their children are asked to notify their school.)  As a result of the bus driver shortage, most daytime field trips are currently suspended in Greenville County Schools.  Athletic events, and co-curricular competitions that occur in the evening and on weekends are still allowed because they do not conflict with the ability to transport students to and from schools and career centers.

Speaking of bus drivers, Greenville County Schools will hold its next job fair on Tuesday, August 31 from 5-7 pm at Wade Hampton High School.  The new starting pay for bus drivers is $16.57-$20.23 per hour!  GCS is also looking to hire bus aides, custodians and food service workers.  Full-time positions with benefits are available.  Hiring managers will be on hand to answer questions and guide applicants through the process.  Those who are not able to attend the job fair can apply online at https://www.greenville.k12.sc.us/Employment/main.asp?titleid=hourly.”

8/26/21: SCDE and DHEC announced new rules for masking on school buses and distancing requirements for the determination of close contacts of people who test positive for Covid-19. This has been updated from a distance of 3ft for a total of 15 minutes over a 24 hour period, to include all those within 6ft for a total of 15 minutes over a 24 hour period.

8/16/21: Quarantine and Isolation in Greenville County Schools: Here’s how quarantine and isolation will happen in Greenville County Schools. Once a student has been within 3 ft for 15 minutes over a period of 24 hours period of a person who tests positive for Covid-19, the path forward will depend on vaccination status, and previous Covid-19 infection within the past 90 days. This chart shows quarantine and isolation paths in Greenville County Schools.

8/15/21 GCS Statement: “We are watching the situation in Pickens County, as well as other Upstate school districts, very closely.  Our process going into the school year will be any decisions made to shift to eLearning will be on a school-by-school basis determined by analysis of each school’s data. We are looking forward to a great year and will do everything in our power to keep students and staff safe.”

8/4/21: Greenville County Schools has provided a Frequently Asked Questions document for parents of children returning to school for the 2021-2022 school year, regarding Covid-19 concerns. Here is a link to the GCS Return to School FAQ. This update was provided to us by Greenville County Schools, 8/4/21.

GCS Return to School frequently asked questions

GCS Board Special Called Meeting 8/3/21: Here is a summary of the special called board meeting from August 3rd, 2021. It concerns back-to-school Covid-19 protocols.

Greenville County Schools News May 2021

GCS Mask Opt-Out 5/12/21

GCS News April 2021

GCS Plexiglass Update, 4/15/21

GCS News March 2021

E-Learning Days for Teacher Vaccinations, 3/12/21

Greenville County Schools Updates January 2021

GCS: Virtual School Registration Open, 1/21/21
GCS Absentee Policy and Teach Bonus, 1/12/21

GCS News December 2020

Post Holiday, GCS Return to School Plan, 12/31/20
GCS High Schools Increase In-Person Instruction Time, 12/7/20

Greenvile County School Updates November 2020

GCS Middle Schoolers Return to In-Person Instruction, 11/16/20
22% of GCS Students Have Atleast One F, 11/11/20

Greenville County Schools News October 2020

GCS: DHEC Approves Plexiglass and Distancing, 10/20/20
GCS: Elementary Students Return to In-Person Instruction, 10/7/20

GCS News September 2020

GCS: Some Students Returning to In-Person Instruction, 9/20/20
GCS: Students Stay On 2-Day Schedule, Despite Rise in Covid-19 Cases, 9/8/20

Greenville County Schools Updates August 2020

GCS: Plan For Covid Exposure in School, 8/19/20
GCS New Mask Rules, 8/4/20

Greenville County Schools News July 2020

Q&A GCS Return to School Fall 2020, 7/30/20
GCS LEAP Days 2020, 7/28/20
GCS Final Return to School Plan, 7/21/20
GCS Classrooms and Buses in Fall 2020, 7/20/20
GCS Moves Start Date, 7/17/20
GCS Response to Governor McMaster, 7/15/20
McMaster Asks Schools to Offer In-Person and Virtual Instruction, 7/15/20
GCS Return to School Update, 7/9/20

GCS News Spring 2020

GCS Adds Virtual School K5-12, 6/24/20
GCS: Students Will Not Return to the Classroom this Year 4/22/20

Spartanburg County School Districts News & Updates Page

About the Author
Maria Bassett is a former school orchestra teacher, turned homeschool mom. She and her husband homeschool their 3 sons and 1 daughter, who range from 4th grade through 9th grade. Believing children learn best when they are engaged and having fun, this family loves to take their homeschool on the road, around Greenville and beyond.

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