SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – This school year comes with many challenges and changes, while school officials, students, and parents adjust with the time trying to stay safe during COVID.

4500 cases of COVID have been confirmed in South Carolina Schools. We now know two children in Aiken County have died from the virus Sept. 1.

A letter from Superintendent Dr. Ron Garner in Spartanburg District one, is a plea to parents for help, cooperation, and an invitation for community to work together by wearing masks and getting vaccinated when possible.

“We currently have around 720 students who are quarantined across our district. We also have around 158 students who are positive. We are really encouraging our students. We are really encouraging our parents to send their children to school with masks- of course that is optional,” Spartanburg One Chief Communications Officer Sandra Williams said.

Each school district keeps track of the number of COVID positive cases in their schools. As indicated by the numbers, those cases are going up, forcing students and teachers into quarantine. As of August 31, the student absentee rate in District one was at 20-percent district wide.

Kimberly McCreless’s son is in Spartanburg District 5. They received a similar letter asking parents and students to lay down differences for the overall health of the entire student body.

“I’m kind of nervous about them not staying in school because I work every day and I’m here every day,” Owner of Peyton’s Place Grooming Kimberly McCreless said.

While her grooming business is busy, so she’s willing to encourage her teen to wear a mask to school to keep the school doors open, even though he doesn’t like them.

“I think it’s really kind of scary thinking about the effect that it’s having on the younger kids now,” McCreless said.

The letter from Superintendent Garner says, they are struggling right now with a significant strain in the educational system and a little help from everyone could go a long way.

“Regardless of whether students come in wearing a mask or not wearing a mask. Whether they’re vaccinated or not vaccinated, we want our students and staff to be a safe as possible,” Williams said.

Classrooms and high traffic common areas are cleaned frequently in each school.

Students and teachers are distanced as much as possible in the classroom, hand sanitizer and wipes are available in each classroom.

In South Carolina, legislation passed by elected officials, makes it illegal to mandate face masks for students.