GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – With the school year approaching and school plans still up in the air for some families, interest in private schools in Greenville County is increasing.
Private schools in the area are offering in-person class five days a week, and administrators told 7 News interest from families is surging this summer.
“The interest in our 6th grade this summer, in particular the last two or three weeks, has been overwhelming,” said Keith Kiser, who is the headmaster at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, a private 6-12 school with about 600 students.
“We have decided that we’re going to go back to in person education five days a week,” Kiser said.
The school is having teachers and students wear masks. To make room for social distancing and more students, they’re even tearing down walls and holding class in tents.
“We’ve had a lot of interest,” Kiser said. “A typical July for us might be eight applicants. This July we’ve had 36 applicants. Those have all come in the last two weeks.”
Kiser said he thinks families might be drawn to the certainty of having kids in school every day.
“What I’m hearing is that their kids badly need to be with other kids. They badly need to be engaged socially, even with physical distancing,” he said.
At with tuition costing around $15,000 each year for high schoolers, expectations were part of the equation when thinking about re-opening.
“I think it was a concern of a lot of private schools when parents are paying for a certain type of education…that’s what they expect to get,” he said.
Southside Christian school in Simpsonville has also seen a surge in interest this summer.
“It’s been our impression that COVID has caused parents to rethink what type of education they want for their child,” said Denny Vauters, who is the executive director of advancement at Southside Christian School. “It’s given parents a chance to reconsider what do they really hope to accomplish in their child’s education, and perhaps now is the time to consider a place like Southside Christian School.”
They are also offering in-person five day a week classes, with kids wearing masks and social distancing in the classroom. They are also offering a virtual option.
“There is certainly more interest, but we were pretty full last year, and so we don’t have a lot of room to grow,” Vauters said. “We have certain grades where we have capacity to increase, but due to our commitment to very small class sizes, we don’t have a lot of room to grow at this point.”
Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville also reports that it’s seen an increase in interest and enrollment in the upcoming school year.
A spokesperson from the Greenville County School District told 7 News they won’t know how many families have pulled their kids from the district until after the school year begins.