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Laurens, SC (FOX Carolina) - Beginning September 21, Laurens County School District 55 will shift to a yellow "hybrid" phase of operations. 

According to the district, a decline in the COVID-19 spread-rate-data provided by DHEC this week is prompting the shift from red to yellow.

A yellow phase indicates a moderate risk of spread.

Officials say under this "hybrid" phase, students will attend school on campus two days a week based on team assignment according to last name. The school district says enhanced health and safety protocols will be enforced with social distancing in place.  

In a DHEC report released on Monday, September 14, the school district says Laurens County had a two-week incidence rate of 97.8 per 100,000 (a medium rating), a trend in incidence rating of low (based on the two-week incidence rate), and a percent positive rating of medium as the percent of positive tests dropped below 10%. The three ratings combined (Medium + Low + Medium) equals an overall rating of Medium.

"We know the change to a Red eLearning phase to start school was disappointing but we believe a rapid reaction to any upward change in data is essential to protect our students, staff, and the broader community. Our continuation of eLearning for the remainder of this week is intended to give families time to plan for the change to hybrid and to solidify the improving trend in the risk of the spread of COVID-19.”

The district says each Monday they will review the threat status for the spread of COVID-19. If threat levels increase, the district will shift immediately to a more restrictive learning environment. If threat levels decrease, the district will plan to shift to a less restrictive environment at the beginning of the next school week. 

More news: Prisma Health launches aggressive flu-vaccination campaign

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