MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston County teachers returned to the classroom Tuesday, and other Lowcountry districts are preparing to do the same before the start of school year.
Districts in our area are making final preparations to welcome staff and students back to buildings. While some details are still being ironed out, masks will be required across the board for students and staff.
“Wearing a mask, social distancing, a lot of the schools that I have heard from are doing virtual,” says Dr. Joseph Williams who serves as Executive Director of Middle School Learning for the Charleston County School District (CCSD).
“Students, staff and visitors will all be wearing face coverings, social distancing will be practiced,” says Amanda Santamaria, District Nurse Coordinator for Dorchester District Two (DD2).
School districts are stressing the importance of safety and health standards for both staff and students to ensure a safe environment to return to.
“The administrators and the staff at large understand how important it will be for us to open and in the most safe way possible,” says Michelle Simmons, Executive Director of Elementary Learning for CCSD.
Noticeable changes before entering buildings, CCSD staff are spending in-service days training and going over new safety measures ahead of student’s return.
“Entering the building, what it looks like on buses, making sure that they understand that we have to encourage, ensure our scholars to wash their hands frequently,’ says Dr. Williams.
Beyond implementing safety guidelines for students, both CCSD and DD2 say they are taking steps to ensure the health of the entire school community.
“We’re sharing with them some tips and tricks of how they can keep themselves safe, how they can keep their students safe, things that they can do to kind of feel better about returning to work,” says Santamaria.
Safety protocols have been a work in progress since schools closed this past spring, Santamaria says she is hoping the measures will ease the fears of parents and staff.
“We want everybody to understand that you know we take the health and safety of our entire school community, of course the students but also the staff and visitors we really have thought this through,” says Santamaria.
Masks and social distancing are some obvious changes but Dr. Williams says CCSD will also share school supplies as little as possible. Large gathering events like pep rallies and gatherings will also be altered.
We have to a lot more of those things virtually,” says Dr. Williams. “I know that’t not exciting for the kiddos but of course for everyone to be safe, we’re going to have to do some of those things virtually like our award ceremonies.
The Berkeley County School district says it is working to finalize safety protocols for staff and students, they are hoping to release those sometime early next week.