GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - A spokesman for Greenville County Schools said Thursday that all 14 high schools in the district will return to full-time in-person learning on April 26.
Tim Waller with the school district said the move comes after a bill requiring all state school districts
to offer the option of full-time, in-person instruction no later than Monday, April 26 regardless of the community’s COVID incidence rate is expected to pass in the SC State House soon and become law.
As of Wednesday, South Carolina's Department of Education said Greenville County was one of only seven districts that were not yet offering full-time in-person learning for all students.
Currently, Greenville County Schools offers full-time in-person for grades K-8, while high school students attend in person four days a week, explained Ryan Brown, the Chief Communications Officer for the SCDE.
Waller said district workers were removing plexiglass in high schools and working to arrange desks in rows with at least three feet of space between them. Waller said that means high school students will not be able to follow the social distancing guidelines for the COVID-19 incident rate in Greenville County.
Waller's full statement is below:
A bill requiring South Carolina school districts to offer the option of full-time, in-person instruction no later than Monday, April 26 regardless of the community’s COVID incidence rate is expected to pass the House on third reading today. Once approved, the resolution will go back to the Senate where quick passage is expected.
Greenville County Schools is preparing to meet the legal requirements of this mandate. With students on eLearning this Friday, we will remove all plexiglass at the high school level. Desks will be arranged in rows with at least 3 feet between each desk. This means that students will not be able to follow the social distancing guidance recommended for our current community incidence rate, but will be seated 3 feet apart without plexiglass.
It is important to note that this only impacts students who are already in our brick and mortar program or those who wanted to be in-person, but were placed in the Virtual Program due to a lack of space. High school families currently in our brick and mortar (traditional) attendance plan will have the option to attend school five days or to remain on the 75% attendance schedule, beginning Monday, April 26. Students who remain on the 75-percent plan should continue to participate in eLearning on their at-home days.
We expect less of an impact at the elementary and middle school levels since they have been in school full time since before the Winter Break. We anticipate that most families who were placed into the Virtual Program due to space concerns will not choose to move their children to in-person this late in the school year since it would require new teachers/schedules. We will know by the end of this week how many of these Virtual Program students have indicated an interest in in-person instruction and over the next 10 days will determine which specific classrooms in which schools will be affected, and will need to be reconfigured.
As a reminder, K-8 students in Greenville County who signed up for in-person instruction at the beginning of the school year returned to the classroom full-time last semester. High school students who opted for in-person instruction moved to a 75-percent attendance plan on January 4. As we have said from the start, our number one goal is to return students to the classroom full-time as soon as it is safe to do so.
72 school districts currently offer full-time in-person learning for all students.