School Board Announces Temporary Switch To All Virtual Instruction in Pickens, SC

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On August 13th, 2021, the Pickens County School Board District called an emergency board of trustees meeting to address the safety of the students in the district. As a result, the decision to temporarily move to an all-virtual learning plan was made.

The number one goal of the school district of Pickens County, and our board members, is safety. Based on the data we have been collecting, and also the testimonies that we have heard after this presentation pertaining to covid-19 delta variant, and us having an emergency session on August, Friday 13th, the board agrees that face to face education for our students is preferred and it will remain our goal. After reviewing this data, of the first nine days of school, this covid-19 delta variant is very different from last year. It has exponentially spread throughout all ScDPC populations. Today’s current number of positive cases has already exceeded last year’s highest point. In order to minimize continued risk, we have empowered our superintendent to move to a temporary virtual learning format. The safety of our SCDPC family is paramount. Our goal is to develop a plan to safely return to face-to-face. Detailed communication from the district office will follow.

The Pickens County School District

Pickens County School Board Adresses Concerns Over Current COVID-19 Numbers

The Picken’s County School District is the largest currently in session, with Greenville County being the largest. As a result, the School board became alarmed with the number of cases it saw versus the 2020-2021 school year. Pickens’ School Board discussed concern over the dramatic increase in numbers over last year, in the meeting.

The School Board voted in favor of temporarily moving to an all-virtual learning plan. The meeting can be viewed on the Pickens County School District Youtube channel. The vote to temporarily move to all-virtual is in the last few minutes of the video (16:40).

2020/2021 School Year

  • Quarantine and contact tracing was limited to 6′ around a student who tested positive.
  • In the first weeks of school, at no point was there more than 20 students testing positive for COVID-19.
  • The hightest reported numbers for covid postive students and teachers, fell on the same day for both. On January 7th, after a return from the holiday break, there were a reported 85 students, and 37 teachers with a COVID-19 positive diagnosis.

2021/2022 School Year

  • Quarantine and contact tracing was limited to 3′ around a student who tested positive.
  • At the begining of the school year, the school district restricted visitors, and volunteers to limit the number of people on campus at any given time. The school started with zero positive cases being reported.
  • On August 13th, 2021 the ninth day of the new school year, there were a reported 634 students remanded to quarantine due to postive diagnosis’ and contact tracing.
  • Of the 634 students quarantined, 142 of them are currently COVID-19 positive. Along with 26 teachers that reported having a positive COVID-19 test result.
  • One student from the Pickens County School District is currently being hospitalized due to COVID-19.

The district intends for this to be temporary, and parents will need to wait for further instruction from the district regarding next week and beyond. However, the all-virtual schedule is slated to begin immediately on Monday, August 16th. All sports and extracurriculars will be canceled thru August 20th. The School District of Pickens County will release plans for the following week (8/23 – 8/27) by Thursday, the 19th.

School districts are currently permitted to have 10 virtual learning days before they are penalized by the state of South Carolina. Public schools in South Carolina have five days of virtual learning they can use, and an additional five if the school board deems it necessary.

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About the Author
Melanie is a native New Yorker, who landed in the Upstate by way of Florida. She is the mom of two awesome kids, and the three of them love going on adventures!

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