Greenville County Schools have had a roadmap in place since the summer to bring students back to school five days a week for in-person instruction. Elementary students are back to in-person instruction and using plexiglass and masks to help prevent the spread of COVID. And last week, the district released sobering information about the high number of failing grades throughout the student body this year. Students in in-person instruction had better grades than those in virtual so getting kids back to school has been a priority.
Today, GCS announced that starting next week, middle schoolers will be transitioning to five days per week of in-person instruction.
How It Will Work
GCS has consulted with DHEC, who has given the green light to letting students get back to class in-person by wearing masks and having a plexiglass barrier.
DHEC says that students wearing masks can sit three feet apart instead of six feet when separated with a plexiglass barrier. DHEC also helped to design layouts for classrooms that fit this guidance.
Some of the classes will be moved to bigger spaces, like cafeterias and auditoriums, where social distancing can occur more easily. Class schedules will also be altered to minimize the number of students in the hallways at any given time.
Lunch, in most cases, will be eaten in classrooms with the protection of the plexiglass barriers between students.
Students will also be cleaning their own spaces as middle schoolers move around much more than elementary students do.
Drop off and pickup will also be altered and parents will be asked to bring their kids to school on a staggered schedule. There will be delays and the district is asking parents to be patient.
Dr. Royster, Superintendent of GCS, said the district is constantly monitoring COVID spread and will adjust the schedule as needed. He said they may have to make the call to decrease attendance with less than a week’s notice.
He noted that the district is concerned about the upcoming holidays and possible spread of COVID. He said the district did not see any significant rise in the number of COVID cases following Halloween, which was encouraging.
Schedule for Transitioning Back to In-Person
Per GCS, this is the schedule for transitioning back to in-person instruction:
- Week of November 23 (Thanksgiving Week): ALL color groups attend in-person on Monday and Tuesday (November 23-24)
- Weeks of November 30, December 7 and December 14: ALL color groups attend in-person Monday through Thursday
- eLearning for sixth graders on Friday (in-person remediation for ALL middle school students who need it begins Friday, December 4. Schools will identify students and notify those parents whose child need to be in attendance.)
- Week of November 30: Attendance Plan 2 on Monday and Tuesday, November 30 and December 1 (students attend by color group)
- ALL color groups attend in-person Wednesday and Thursday, December 2-3, eLearning on Fridays, plus in-person remediation for ALL middle school students who need it
- Weeks of December 7 and December 14: ALL color groups attend Monday through Thursday, eLearning on Fridays, plus in-person remediation for ALL middle school students who need it
- Week of December 7: Attendance Plan 2 on Monday and Tuesday, December 7-8 (students attend by color group), ALL color groups attend in-person Wednesday and Thursday, December 9-10, eLearning on Fridays, plus in-person remediation for ALL middle school students who need it
- Week of December 14: ALL color groups attend Monday through Thursday, eLearning on Fridays, plus in-person remediation for ALL middle school students who need it
- Winter break: student holiday (Monday, December 21 through Friday, January 1)
Beginning January 4, 2021
Sixth, seventh and eighth grade students attend in-person school 5 days a week until further notice
What about high schools?
GCS says that they are currently at 40% in-person attendance for high schoolers and they are working to get that up to 60% by the start of the second semester.