CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County schools are set to welcome back almost 8,000 more students in person by Oct. 1 as the COVID-19 trends in the county move into a medium spread rate.
Right now, more than 11,000 students are reporting to their classrooms every morning while about 35,000 are learning virtually.
During the school board meeting Monday, the district stated 7,807 students, who are currently learning online, want to return to the classroom, and they soon will be allowed to. All elementary and middle school students who want to return will be able to by Sept. 21 and all high school students will be able to by Oct. 1.
Next month, 19,765 or about 40-percent of the district’s students will be learning inside a building.
Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait said if one school meets capacity because of this, the additional students and teachers could be relocated to other school buildings where capacity has not yet been met. An official breakdown of the schools where that’s set to happen is set to be released Tuesday.
Postlewait cites the county’s downward trends of COVID-19 as to why they’re able to bring back more students.
“Charleston County is solidly in medium spread rate,” Postlewait said. “We aren’t at low yet, but we are well in medium.”
The district’s metrics create green, yellow, and red zones which are based on three factors: two-week incidence rate, trend in incidence rate, and two-week positive rate.
The district then uses a point system to decide when more students should be added.
- If a factor has a “low” rating, it’s considered in the green and will get two points.
- If it has a “medium” rating, it’s considered in the yellow and will get one point.
- If it has a “high” rating, it’s considered in the red and will get no points.
Phase three, which is the district just reached, is when the county has four points or more and in-person will be open for all families who want to return. Both the two-week incidence rate and the two-week positive rate remain in the yellow zone (two points) while the trend in two-week incidence rate remains in the green zone (two points).
“We are operating at phase two for now,” Postlewait said. She said they won’t fully go into phase three until more categories reach a “low” rating.
Virtual will always remain an option for those who don’t want to return.
The board meeting can be watched here.