SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Schools across the Upstate are adopting new COVID-19 guidelines in compliance with DHEC and the CDC as they welcome students back to the classroom.

In Spartanburg County, school leaders say their main priority is making sure students stay safe and healthy the remainder of the school year.

As students pack their lunches and load up the buses for the second half of the school year, new COVID-19 protocols may await their arrival.

Several Spartanburg County districts say they will continue to follow both state guidelines, as well as implement advice from the CDC.

District One leaders met Tuesday to discuss COVID-19 and finalize their new plan, while other districts’ new guidelines are now in place.

In an email sent out to families, District Five said, “It is our hope that we can keep students in school, while protecting the health and safety of everyone as much as possible.”

If a student tests positive for COVID-19:

The new protocol says, if a student tests positive for COVID-19, he or she must isolate for five days. The student can return to the classroom on the sixth day after their symptoms began, as long as they do not have a fever and their symptoms have significantly improved. A parent will also have to provide a note confirming that information to the school.

According to DHEC, a mask will also be required for the five days following quarantine (days six-ten).

If a student is an unvaccinated close contact:

If an unvaccinated student is considered a close contact, they will be required to quarantine for five days. Students are allowed to return to the classroom on day six if they are showing no symptoms and provide a negative COVID-19 test.

7NEWS spoke with a sixth grade student from Spartanburg County on Tuesday who is currently facing the new quarantine protocol. For privacy reasons we are refraining from releasing the identity of the student, however he says he prefers in-person learning and believes the new guidelines will help with that.

“Yesterday was day five, but we are just awaiting our COVID test and we just want to make sure if we go back, we just want to make sure we are not positive and infect others,” said the student. “If it helps us get in the classroom quicker, I believe that it will help because of that reason.”

DHEC says when quarantined close contact students return, they will also be required to wear a mask through day ten. Some students are relieved with that decision.

“Until day ten you have to wear a mask and I do believe that will help others because it would make us feel safe and make me feel better about myself.”

If a vaccinated student is a close contact:

If a close contact is vaccinated, the new guidance says no quarantine is required as long as students have no symptoms. In the mean time, the person will have to wear a mask for ten days and test on day five, even if they are symptom-free.

Greenville County Schools, along with several districts in Anderson County are also adopting the new guidelines.

A few districts in Spartanburg County are still deciding on the updated protocol, while those which have made their decision said they will continue to monitor infection rates and trends to assure the health and safety of its students and faculty.