The first day of school for Anderson School District 1 students will be Tuesday, August 25, with a staggered school start and safety protocols to address the COVID-19 situation.
To come up with the plan, school officials used guidance from CDC, DHEC, SDE, the Governor’s Office, ASD1 Accelerate Taskforce and Survey results from parents and employees.
Key points from the survey showed that 88% of parents and 97% of staff indicated it is important or very important to resume face-to-face instruction in the fall. The survey also showed that 87% of parents and 96% of staff indicated they are very comfortable or comfortable with significant safeguards in place to resume face-to-face instruction in the fall.
The staggered start plan allows for teachers to work with smaller groups of students as they review and teach very important safety protocols. It also allows for maximum social distancing while students are learning the new procedures and minimizes the risk of virus spread during the “practice” time.
For those parents who choose for their children to not return to face-to-face instruction ASD1 is offering a Virtual Learning Academy for Fall 2020.
The virtual learning academy will be: Taught by certified teachers; have rigorous grade-level standards requiring significant time commitments; required time spent actively involved with digital curriculum.
Parents were to sign a “Declaration of Intent” by mid-July committing student to the 100% online instruction for the 2020-21 school year and must have internet access or district provided hotspot.
The survey showed there was not much support for a “hybrid” schedule (mix of face-to-face and virtual learning). Only 36% of parents stated they could support a hybrid schedule and make it work. Childcare was the main issue.
Under the back to school plan, District One officials have the following priorities:
•Maintaining the health and safety of our students, employees and ASD1 families
•Returning to face-to-face instruction as quickly and safely as possible
•Remaining flexible and altering procedures if need arises (practice “Virtual Classroom”)
•Providing options (when possible) for parents, students and employees when returning to
school is not possible due to health concerns.
There is also a plan for Operations Determined by the Community Transmission Rate of the Virus Established by DHEC. The Transmission Rate Operation is based on “Low” or “Medium” to utilize face-to-face instruction for all students* with significant safety and “High” to utilize eLearning for all students with a “Virtual Classroom”
At the time the plan was approved, the Current Transmission Rate was Medium.
District One officials noted that no policy or procedure created can provide a 100% guarantee that
the virus will not be transmitted in the schools. However a number of safety measures aligned with recommendations by CDC, DHEC and AccelerateSC are being taken.
The COVID-19 Return to School Protocol includes:
•Check temperatures during arrival;
•Symptom screenings for staff and students upon arrival to school;
•Students and staff wearing face coverings /shields during arrival, dismissal and
•Utilize desk shields in class– masks/face shields removed during the majority of class;
•Maximize social distancing as much as possible;
•Wash hands frequently, instruction on proper hygiene;
•Hand sanitizer readily available;
•Frequent disinfecting of high touch surfaces;
•Regular deep cleaning and disinfecting of classrooms, office and high traffic areas;
•Schedule students into cohorts to limit exposure;
•Effectively communicate that sick students and employees needs to stay home and follow
health guidelines on return to school;
•Follow systemic protocols when a student or employee gets sick at school or reports
•Limit non-essential visitors to schools/district buildings;
•Buses may need to run at 50% capacity (current state guidance). Ask all parents who can
bring students to and from schools to do so. May need to run double routes which may
necessitate changing school start/end times.