MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Dorchester District 4 (DD4) and the Colleton County School District are moving to virtual learning because of a rise in COVID-19 cases among staff and students in the districts. Both districts announced the change in the last 24 hours.

District officials say that the number of students and staff members in isolation or quarantine made it nearly impossible to operate their districts in person.

“From Friday to Monday our numbers nearly doubled in the majority of our buildings,” said Monica Tudder, Director of Exceptional Children at DD4. “That same trend held from Monday to Tuesday with our numbers nearly doubling again.”

Dr. Valerie Cave, Superintendent of the Colleton County School District, said “we were all unprepared for the spread of the virus, no one expected Omicron to raise its ugly head.”

Roughly 20% of DD4 students are either COVID-19 positive or in quarantine, and many staff members are being impacted as well.

It’s a similar story for Colleton County. Dr. Cave says roughly an eighth of the district’s staff members are out while more than 700 students are in quarantine.

“The spread was going at a rampant pace within our schools and when you can’t provide instruction, you need to make those decisions,” she said.

Dr. Cave continued, saying “it’s something district staff knows is an inconvenience and concern for parents of district students. The Colleton County School District plans to continue strict disinfecting protocols and will bring back desk shields in an effort after the break to keep students and staff healthy.”

Charleston County School District parents have raised concerns over the accuracy of the district’s COVID-19 dashboard. The district says due to an “extreme” rise in COVID-19 cases, they are experiencing delays in updating the dashboard. The updates are supposed done twice a day Monday through Friday.

In Berkeley County, the decision to transition to virtual learning is made on a school-by-school basis. District officials say they have no plans to transition to virtual learning at this point.

Two schools in the Georgetown County School District have transitioned to virtual learning as of Wednesday.

Colleton County and DD4 plan to bring students back to in-person learning on January 20th. District officials for both schools say they will continue to monitor infection rates.