CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County School District (CCSD) is planning to discuss sending students back to school for the fall semester. The district released its ‘Safe Restart’ plan on Wednesday and will discuss the new measures at their board meeting Monday afternoon.
The plan acknowledges that “we are faced with issues that require schooling to be different, but that does not mean that we will have to sacrifice the quality of schooling or compromise health and safety.”
Students are expected to return to class September 8, with teachers returning August 11 for five “professional development/classroom work days.” Should any changes be made to the tentative start date, parents will be notified 20 days in advance.
All parents will be given the choice of full-time virtual learning or in-person instruction.
For students that return to campus, CCSD is working to analyze facilities “to determine how many students can return to in-school instruction using safe-distancing protocols.”
Protocols include spacing desks six feet apart or using plexiglass dividers. All students and staff are expected to wear face coverings when moving around the building or classroom, as well as on busses. Students can remove coverings when seated at work spaces.
CCSD will be disinfecting all bathrooms and high-touch surfaces twice a day, fogging the entire building with disinfectant at least once a week, and upgrading the HVAC system.
Schools will be expected to disable water fountains and instead utilize water-bottle filling stations.
Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms.
Students are expected to eat lunch in their classrooms to avoid large crowds in the cafeteria.
CCSD estimates that about half of schools will be able to bring back all students, while the remaining half will only be able to safely bring back around 50%-90% of students.
For schools that cannot bring back 100% of their students, students will operate on an alternating schedule, with some students attending in-person classes Monday/Tuesday and some students attending Thursday/Friday.
CCSD is “highly recommending” that all faculty and staff get tested for COVID-19 “no more than two weeks before returning to work.”
Should anyone in the school test positive, “protocols are in place for notification and prompt contact tracing…to determine necessary quarantining and facility cleaning.” Additionally, “the district will make appropriate accommodations for students who may be required to quarantine or self-isolate as a result of COVID-19.” For impacted employees, “the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires the district to provide staff members with emergency paid sick leave (two weeks) and/or expanded family and medical leave (up to an additional 10 weeks) for specified reasons related to COVID-19.”
Click here to read the plan in its entirety.