Orange Grove Charter School welcomes students back in-person

VIDEO: Orange Grove Charter School welcomes students back in-person

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - After switching to a virtual schedule before the Thanksgiving holiday, students at Orange Grove Charter School returned to their classrooms again Monday.

Principal John Clendaniel said apart from strong storms knocking out power to the school until around 7:30 this morning, the rest of the day ran smoothly.

“It went well. Kids were excited to come back, it certainly seemed, and teachers as well,” Clendaniel said. “So just a typical day despite the power being out at the start.

On Nov. 12, Clendaniel confirmed a school staff member and their child, who attends the school-sponsored day care, tested positive for COVID-19.

Clendaniel said 15 teachers use the daycare so staffing was the main issue in deciding to go virtual.

“With the Thanksgiving holiday it just made sense to shut down and do virtual,” Clendaniel said. “We lost six in-person days but we were able to do that virtually so that was nice.”

Clendaniel says the school is still closely monitoring any potential exposures and making sure safety procedures are in place like increased testing and hand sanitizers across the school.

He said he’s proud of how the students and staff adapted and it shows the flexibility that’s needed when deciding schedule changes.

“The teachers have been fantastic,” Clendaniel said. “They’ve learned a lot through this process we all have. They’ve been able to add a lot to their toolkit so to speak, just being able to teach and pivot back and forth.”

Currently, Orange Grove Charter school has 1,150 elementary and middle school students.

Parent Bill Nixon who has three children currently at Orange Grove said starting the year out virtually helped the transition away and back to the classroom this month.

“They had set it up in anticipation of this being a potential issue so we were able to seamlessly go back to virtual from in person,” Nixon said. “Then today of course starting back live was a great thing as well. We’re glad to have them back in school.”

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