LAURENS CO., SC (WSPA) – Three schools in Laurens County are going virtual due to high numbers of COVID-19 cases.
According to Laurens County School District 55, Gray Court-Owings School, Hickory Tavern School, and Laurens District 55 High School will all switch to virtual learning beginning Friday, September 3.
The schools will continue virtually through Thursday, September 9.
All students at the other six schools in the district will continue with normal face-to-face instruction.
“With the current numbers and these campuses facing insufficient staffing, we are not able to operate safely at these locations,” said Superintendent Dr. Ameca Thomas. “We are hopeful that this action will provide relief to the schools that are experiencing high transmission rates and allow time for the majority of the staff to return.”
Laurens County School District 55 said Wednesday that 138 students have tested positive and 648 are currently quarantined, those numbers represent nearly 14 percent of the entire student body.
19 staff have also tested positive with 23 others quarantined in the district.
Assistant Superintendent, Jody Penland, said the biggest reason for shutting down was the lack of staff.
“At our high school we had 20 adults out of the building yesterday and today and then we’re going to have more coming forward, so whenever we’re looking at the number of staff out. That’s really how we had to make our decision,” Penland said.
They say they have received some pushback, specifically from families who have to find child care, but the district says they’re confident this contact break will benefit everyone.
“We have come people that are upset. We only did it for three schools, so most of our coverage didn’t hit all the schools. We didn’t put a hardship on all of our district with childcare for our elementary schools,” Penland said.