The South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities announced in a letter to parents sent on July 7 that the school will shift to a virtual platform for the upcoming fall semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school’s current population represents about 30 of the state’s 46 counties.
The decision came after the school’s president Cedric Adderley and the rest of the school’s leadership reviewed recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the South Carolina Department of Education.
The Governor’s School is one of five schools in the state that are designated as Special Schools by the General Assembly. It is not affiliated with Greenville County Schools.
“The significance of inhalation and exhalation with respect to viral transmission certainly complicates matters in the performing arts,” said Adderley in an email. “With a focus on process rather than product, we’ve found ways to effectively develop the skills of our students without the risk involved of holding ensemble rehearsals in the same manner we’ve done prior to the pandemic and unintentionally transmitting the virus.”
As a school for the arts and humanities, online learning has its limitations. However, the school plans to explore bringing small groups of students back to campus for two-week intervals based on their arts discipline. Teachers will also be working from the school’s classrooms and studios, said Jennifer Thomas, dean and vice president of arts and academics. They’ll be able to provide SMART board lessons, use motion-sensitive cameras for dance or have a Zoom lesson for a music student.
The school leadership is also working to provide virtual opportunities for club meetings, orientation and other programming.
“Although not one teacher on our faculty went into this line of work to teach online, we have some seriously skilled and certified individuals who are stepping up to take the lead,” Thomas said.
The Governor’s School administration plans to resume in-person instruction on its campus after the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 18, 2021, if the pandemic has eased.