Educators prepare for back to school, as DHEC releases COVID guidance

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 10:24 PM EDT
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - It’s just the weekend away from the start of school for the majority of our upstate districts. Teachers and staff in Greenville and Spartanburg counties were in the classroom this week, getting ready for Monday.

This is COVID year 3 for schools. In many ways, this year’s first day back will be just like it was before the pandemic as many of the precautions in place last year are now gone. It’s a new year, with new guidelines.

The desks are set, pencils are sharpened, and the hallways won’t be empty much longer. Now, there’s nothing left to do now but wait.

“I may not sleep this weekend,” said Randy Edwards, the first-year principal of Carver Middle School.

Carver says stepping into the new role is exciting, but the nerves are there too.

“Everybody gets anxious about the first day that kids come in the building,” he said.

6th grade Social Studies teacher Kelly Petty says no matter how long you’ve been teaching, the first day jitters are always the same.

“You can’t help but have those butterflies. Even after 15 years of teaching, you still get them and I guess it’s just the excitement of the first day” said Petty.

She’s hoping this year will look different too.

“I’m hoping to see faces this year,” she said in reference to the mask requirement dropping.

For the last 2 years education faced challenges because of COVID- anything from masking, plexiglass, distancing and quarantines to keep kids safe.

“It just took away a lot of that face-to-face time, and it took away the unity and the momentum that you can build. when we just get to see you every day in this classroom,” said Principal Edwards.

Now most of those precautions are gone and things are as close to normal as it’s ever been. The new DHEC COVID guidelines still require 5 day isolation after a positive test. Those showing symptoms will also be sent home.

For outbreaks, schools must report cases to the state only when more than 20% of people in a group of at least 5 test positive in less than 72 hours.

“I’m a hugger,” said Petty. “You know you just want to hug the children especially when you’re excited to see them or they look like they might be a little bit scared. I think it’s just going to be a lot more, authentic perhaps,” she said.

To view Greenville County’s COVID precautions click here.

Spartanburg District 7 precautions are here. Both follow DHEC guidance.