GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Greenville County Schools are clearing the way to keep students physically in school.
A special called board meeting on Wednesday approved more flexibility in the attendance plans.
As DHEC shows an uptick in coronavirus cases in Greenville County that would move Greenville County Schools backwards when it comes to in-person learning, a new motion that passed Wednesday will now keep schools at Phase 2.
Superintendent Dr. Burke Royster said at the meeting that although DHEC numbers may be on the rise, coronavirus cases in the county are low.
“Although we are still rated high level by DHEC, the numbers are not as high as they were when we designed the plan,” Royster said.
He said the district was able to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 so quickly because students, staff and parents did what they were asked to do, which included wearing a mask and socially distancing.
“It went well because our students, our parents, and our employees did what they were asked to do,” Royster said.
School board members ultimately agreed with Royster’s suggestion to remain at Phase 2, instead of reverting back to Phase 1 due to DHEC’s classification of “high” spread of the virus.
“We don’t want to move backwards unless it is an absolute necessity,” Linda Leventis-Wells, the school board chairman, said.
“It gives us as a school district the opportunity to brings students back more consistently,” Chuck Saylors, school board member, said.
Board members said it’s because of continued safety measures that will continue to move the district forward.
“The plans that we have put together and the flexibility that we established today gives us the opportunity to do exactly that — to grow into a potential 5-day schedule,” Saylors said. “We want to make sure that our kids are safe.”
Board members also discussed when we may see students back in the classroom even more. The problem is there’s not enough room in buildings to properly social distance.
“That’s what keeps us from going 5 days a week and getting everyone in the classroom,” Leventis-wells said.
Royster said over the next few weeks, the district will be looking into bringing lower grades back to the classroom more. The goal is eventually to get all students back to school in person 5 days a week, as long as it’s safe.
“We won’t ever recommend to you nor will we act in a way that does not place the safety and health of our employees and our students foremost in our considerations,” Royster said.
The votes to approve the plan was unanimous.
Students who have selected to attend the virtual learning program will be able to continue learning from home for at least the rest of the school year, regardless of changes in in-person classes.