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Berkeley, Dorchester Dist. 2, Colleton, Beaufort County students return to school Monday

Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 3:30 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Thousands of students begin their new school year Monday morning.

Students in Berkeley County, Dorchester District 2, Colleton County and Beaufort County are set to begin their school year. Orangeburg County schools and Bishop England High School on Daniel Island also welcome students back to the classroom Monday.

SPECIAL SECTION: Back to School

The Berkeley County School District posted its detailed bell schedule on its website. Parents can track bus delays for their children’s buses online.

In Dorchester District 2, elementary schools will operate from 7:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Middle schools will operate from 8:10 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. and high schools will operate from 8:55 a.m. to 3:55 p.m. DD2 can track their child’s school bus through a smartphone app.

The Colleton County School District posted its bus routes on its website. Parents and students can find information about schedules under each school’s page on the district’s website.

In Beaufort County, elementary schools will operate from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. River Ridge Academy and Robert Smalls International Academy will run from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Riverview Charter School will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Middle schools and high schools will operate from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

The Beaufort County School District posted its bus routes on its district website as well.

SC school leaders, health experts encourage face coverings, social distancing in the classroom

A rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted concerns about the spread of the disease in schools.

But a temporary law passed in the state’s new budget prevents school districts from imposing mask mandates in the classroom. Still, state health officials urged students and teachers to wear masks in the classroom.

Last week, South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman said school districts can enforce a federal mask mandate on school buses if they choose to do so. The state will not enforce that mandate. But Spearman said she hoped state lawmakers will reconsider their mask mandate ban.

“I would encourage the legislators to look at it closely and to give that decision to the local districts,” Spearman said.

She said she expects the law will “go to the courts and that the court will settle the question: Is that a local decision or does the General Assembly have that authority?”

The Department of Health and Environmental Control said, as of last Tuesday, there were 85 cases of COVID-19 associated with schools across the state. In the last couple weeks, dozens of high school football players in Charleston and Berkeley County have had to quarantine after positive tests on their teams.

More than 36,000 kids under the age 10 have tested positive for the coronavirus in South Carolina since the start of the pandemic, DHEC says.

Since kids under the age of 12 cannot be vaccinated yet, DHEC is strongly encouraging students and staff to wear a mask in school buildings.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety urged drivers to be aware of students as they returned to the classroom.

RELATED: When to stop for a school bus in South Carolina

The South Carolina Highway Patrol says young children are quick and often unaware of potential danger. Most crashes involving young children happen between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Other districts, schools start classes later this week

St John’s Christian Academy in Moncks Corner, Mason Preparatory School in Charleston, Northwood Academy in Summerville and Porter Gaud in Charleston open their schools on Tuesday.

Students in Charleston County, Dorchester District 4, Williamsburg County and Georgetown County return to school Wednesday.

Charleston Day School, Pinewood Preparatory, and Orangeburg Preparatory start classes on Thursday.

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