GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville County students, who have been quarantined due to COVID-19, will soon be able to return to school three days earlier if they are symptom free. As of Wednesday night, district officials say there were just more than 3,000 students in quarantine.

“Our quarantines are off the charts this year, big numbers,” District spokesperson Tim Waller said.

Right now, students deemed to be in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case are required to quarantine for 10 days before returning to school.

“With the PCR test, they’ll be bale to sit out or quarantine for 7 days and come back on day 8,” Waller said.

Greenville County Schools said to qualify, students must receive a negative result on a COVID-19 PCR test no sooner than day 5 of their quarantine period. 

As soon as the negative PCR test result has been received, that result should be submitted via email along with the student’s name, school, and, if available, the student i.d. number.

Medical experts weighed in on the legitimacy of a PCR test.

“The test itself is the best test available to us right now it’s basically our gold standard test,” said ARCPoint Labs President Byron Berry.

That’s because it tests how much of the virus is in your system instead of giving just a positive or negative result.

“It’s the most sensitive and therefore the one that is going to detect most strongly in terms of the virus,” Berry said.

These experts are pleased to see the district stepping up.

“I like to see the fact that we’re doing things at least to be proactive to try and keep the kids in school,” Berry said.

GSC staff will respond with a return date, which cannot be earlier than day 8.

Students will not be allowed back in school until the GCS Medical staff has validated the test results and provided an updated return date, school officials said.

This option is not available to students who are in isolation due to a positive COVID-19 test. It is only for those who are on quarantine and have no symptoms of COVID-19. 

GCS has partnered with DHEC and MAKO Medical Laboratories to provide FREE COVID-19 drive-through testing at three sites across the county (Northside Park, MT Anderson, and Fountain Inn High School). 

These testing sites will open next Monday, September 13, and are restricted for use by GCS employees and students only.  No appointments are necessary.