Greenville school district officials met on Thursday, Dec. 31 to discuss the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in the Upstate community. Officials have decided that students and teachers who are in the brick-and-mortar program should return to school on Monday as planned.
Administrators from the school district sought advice from medical experts at Bon Secours, Prisma Health and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, according to a statement provided by Tim Waller, Greenville County Schools director of media relations.
Elementary and middle school students will go back for five days of face-to-face instruction while high school students will stay on Attendance Plan 2.
The amount of Greenville County Schools staff that are currently in quarantine due to exposure or having COVID-19 is about a third of what it was on Dec. 18, according to Waller. Superintendent Burke Royster had previously said that without the winter holiday schools may have been required to shut down due to the amount of staff out due to the quarantining.
“As Dr. Royster has stated before, the evidence is strong that our existing safety protocols are preventing the spread of COVID in our schools. In fact, public health officials believe a failure to return to school will make the situation worse, because it is clear people have not been following pandemic guidance over the last 10 days,” said Waller. That is due to the protocols in place in the schools to mitigate COVID-19 spread, he explained.
Outside of the school, those protocols are not under the same supervision.
“Upon return, students and teachers are asked to be vigilant about mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, and monitoring for symptoms. Families are asked to please promptly report to their child’s school anyone living in their residence with a positive COVID test, COVID exposure, or COVID symptoms,” Waller said.