SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Some school districts leaders said virtual learning days due to winter weather are serving a dual purpose and giving more time for students and staff with COVID-19 to quarantine.
“We’ve already seen a significant drop in absenteeism,” said Aly Myles, the director of public information and communications for Spartanburg District Three.
Some Spartanburg schools went virtual last week as COVID-19 cases surged, causing shortages in some districts.
“We were dealing with pretty significant absenteeism to the point where we weren’t able to hold classes in a safe learning environment, and that’s always our priority,” said Myles.
This week, winter weather is causing the shift, but school leaders said there’s a silver lining.
“We were, you know, not able to come for the road conditions, but we were also giving ourselves a little bit more time to get people well enough to come back for in person instruction,” said Sandra Williams, the chief communications officer for Spartanburg District One.
It’s giving students and staff more time to recover at home without missing out on their learning experience.
“We are hopeful that due to these days of students being at home and having this storm, that it’s going to significantly help numbers when we do return,” said Myles.
Districts like Spartanburg One are already seeing improvements. Williams said last week about 60 staff members were out. On Thursday, that number is down to about 15.
“We have definitely seen a significant decrease in the number of our staff members who are having to quarantine or be in isolation. So, having a few extra days because of the inclement weather has really helped in mitigating the spread of the virus,” said Williams.
District leaders also said a benefit of e-learning days is students won’t have to make up these school days at the end of the school year.