Face mask requirement announced for SC bus riders; reopening plans for 6 districts approved by SCDE

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced Monday a statewide face mask requirement for all school bus riders, drivers and staff members.

According to a news release, the face mask requirement will allow districts to increase ridership capacity up to 67 percent.

The South Carolina Department of Education and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control are also encouraging all students and staff members to wear face masks within the school buildings.

Also on Monday, Spearman announced the approval of six school district reopening plans.

The six school district reopening plans that have been approved are:

  • Allendale County School District
  • Anderson School District Five
  • Berkeley County School District
  • Saluda County Schools
  • Spartanburg County School District Two
  • Clover School District (York Two)

“The plans approved today offer parents high quality, innovative face to face and virtual options while keeping student and staff safety as their top priority,” Spearman said. “I commend these school communities for considering the latest scientific data and guidance along with the academic, social and emotional needs of students to make localized decisions. Our goal is for every school to return to five day face to face instruction as quickly as safety conditions allow. South Carolinians can support their neighborhood school by wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing, washing their hands regularly, and staying at home when sick. These precautions have the potential to significantly expedite our education system’s return to normalcy.”

Some highlights from some of the approved plans include:

  • Clover School District and Spartanburg District Two are offering elementary parents five day, face to face instruction through their phased in “Family Model” that includes enhanced safety protocols and keeping students together in cohorts to mitigate the spread of disease.
  • Berkeley County School District is offering parents a traditional five day, face to face instruction option, a “blended distance” option that incorporates online learning platforms with live stream learning experiences, and a self-paced virtual option utilizing pre-made online courses such as those offered by VirtualSC.
  • Allendale and Saluda County Schools have both hybrid and fully virtual options with strong communication procedures with students and families to ensure they stay on track. Both districts have inclusive frameworks on how they will serve special populations such as students with disabilities and English language learners.
  • Anderson Five will offer students and parents in-person instruction five days a week as well as the option of enrolling in the district’s new virtual academy that will be staffed by district teachers who will provide virtual support throughout the school day for students who choose to learn from home.

According to the release, approved school districts must meet certain criteria, which has been set by the SCDE. Read the criteria here.

SCDE has reportedly received 73 reopening plans and is awaiting plans from eight districts who were granted extensions.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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