SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - Classes will soon be back in session at a Dorchester County facility that serves people with intellectual disabilities.
Live 5 News obtained a copy of an internal memo stating that the process of reopening the Day Program Department at the Coastal Regional Center on Miles Jamison Road was scheduled to begin on Monday. The memo asked staff members to “please make the necessary preparation to ensure your classrooms are set-up accordingly.”
Officials with the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs confirmed that a phased reopening of day programming began Monday. The agency is starting with a morning session only and intends to conduct morning and afternoon sessions within a couple of weeks.
“Day programming will [be] conducted within a framework of aggressive infection control, social distancing, and cottage integrity/attendance by classroom to the maximum extent possible,” Facility Administrator Tommy McDaniel said in an email sent through a DDSN spokesperson.
When asked what the procedure will be should a Coastal Regional Center consumer or staff member who attended a class subsequently test positive for COVID-19, McDaniel wrote that "positive staff will be instructed to follow quarantine procedures at home in accordance with CDC and SCDHEC guidelines. Any positive consumers will be isolated as well in accordance with CDC and SCDHEC guidelines."
This announcement comes nearly a month after Live 5 News first revealed that there have been dozens of COVID-19 cases associated with the Coastal Regional Center.
More than 15 employees reached out in the time since expressing concerns such as being overworked, underpaid, and possibly being exposed to COVID-19 on the job amid a staff shortage at the facility. However, none of the staff members would be interviewed on camera.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s latest year-to-date COVID-19 report states that there have been 10 cases among Coastal Regional Center residents, one coronavirus-related resident death, and 43 cases among staff.
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