GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Greenville County Schools have prepared a list of answers to questions frequently asked by parents about COVID-19 protocol before the new school year begins on August 17.

Q: Will students be required to wear masks in schools?
A: In keeping with the proviso that was recently passed by the South Carolina Legislature (see full list of provisos below), neither students nor staff are required to wear masks. However, the CDC continues to recommend masking and parents are encouraged to review the advice of public health professionals before deciding what is best for their children.

Q: Will students who choose to wear masks receive special seating or other considerations?
A: No.

Q: Are face coverings still required on school buses?
A: No. The SC Department of Education recently removed the requirement to use face coverings on state-owned school buses. However, bus capacity has returned to 100%, which makes social distancing impossible. The CDC continues to recommend masking and parents are encouraged to review the advice of public health professionals before deciding what is best for their children.

Q: Will students still be seated in pods with plexiglass dividers?
A: No, all plexiglass dividers have been removed from student seating.

Q: What type of schedule can students expect when the 2021-22 school year begins on August 17?
A: Greenville County Schools will start the school year with full-time in-person instruction for all students
(other than those who signed up for the full-time Virtual Program).

Q: Are school protocols/schedules guaranteed to stay the same all year long?
A: No. The changing nature of COVID-19 and possible changes in the law will likely impact protocols and schedules.

Q: Will students switch to E-Learning if coronavirus cases suddenly increase?
A: Under South Carolina law, school districts are now limited to five (5) eLearning days per year, so at this time, we do not have the option of running an alternate schedule.

Q: If there is a spike in COVID-19 cases, can I move my child to the full-time virtual program?
A: Only if there is room. The South Carolina Legislature recently added a proviso to the state budget that says only 5-percent of a school district’s student population can receive virtual instruction without penalty to state funding.
Q: What are the protocols if my child is exposed to COVID-19?
A: Students who come in close contact with a COVID-19 contagious person must quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. However, students who provide proof they have been fully vaccinated are exempt from quarantine, unless they develop symptoms.

Q: What happens if my child tests positive for COVID-19?
A: Just like last year, students who test positive for the coronavirus are required to isolate for 10 days, or longer if symptoms have not improved.

Q: Are vaccines required for students and staff?
A: No, but unvaccinated individuals must quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19.

Q: What type of social distancing will occur within schools?
A: Schools will enforce 3-feet of social distancing when possible.

Q: How often will schools be disinfected?
A: Schools will be disinfected each night and high touch common areas will be cleaned throughout the day. Buses will be disinfected twice each day.

Q: Can PTAS, SICS, Good News Clubs and mentors return to the buildings?
A: Yes, at the principal’s discretion.

Q: Can parents join their children for lunch?
A: It is up to the discretion of principals who may stagger or place restrictions on visits
(i.e. no visits allowed until after Labor Day.)

Q: Will parents/visitors be asked screening questions when they first enter school buildings?
A: Yes.

Q: Can schools have family fun nights, school dances and school stores?
A: Yes, but remember all protocols are subject to change.

Q: Can parents send homemade food/cupcakes for birthdays again?
A: No, only commercially-prepared food can be delivered to classrooms.

Q: Will water fountains be turned back on or will we continue to only use bottle fillers?
A: Water fountains will be turned back on.

Q: Will students return to the cafeteria with regular seating for meals?
A: Yes. Students may return to the cafeteria. Assigned seating may be used for contact tracing.

Q: Is there any difference in operations/protocols for grades Pre-K through 6 (no option to be vaccinated) and grades 7-12 (have option to be vaccinated)?
A: No.

Q: Will Greenville County Schools continue to provide a covid-19 dashboard on its website?
A: Yes.

Q: What about statistical comparisons to state and county?
A: Yes.

These FAQs can be found online along with a list of provisos passed by the SC Legislature regarding public schools.

Enrollment for GCS’s 2021-22 Virtual Program has reopened. Greenville County Schools will accommodate as many students as staffing allows.