Colleton, Orangeburg Co. schools to go virtual starting Thursday

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 7:57 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Students in Colleton and Orangeburg Counties will temporarily switch to virtual learning because of a rise in COVID-19 cases in their districts.

Both districts are holding in-person classes on Wednesday ahead of the switch.

The Colleton County School District announced Tuesday it would temporarily switch to virtual learning starting on Thursday and running for four school days. The district will hold classes virtually Thursday and Friday, and then on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Monday is the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

The district estimated students would return to in-person learning on Jan. 20, but district officials said they would reassess the impact of COVID-19 on students and staff next Wednesday to determine whether to extend virtual learning.

Orangeburg County schools to return in-person after MLK holiday

The Orangeburg County School District announced Tuesday their schools would move to virtual learning because of student absences involving COVID-19. All students, teachers and staff will move to a 100% virtual learning model for Thursday and Friday.

Following Monday’s MLK holiday, the district will return to in-person learning on Tuedsay, district officials said.

Previously, the district transitioned students from four schools, Edisto Primary, Carver-Edisto Middle, Edisto High and Howard Middle, to virtual learning as a result of high numbers of employee isolations and quarantines.

Charleston County Schools updates quarantine policies

The Charleston County School District, meanwhile, said fully vaccinated and boosted students and staff over the age of 18 identified as close contacts no longer need to quarantine as long as they are symptom-free.

The district updated its guidelines, which were confirmed Monday during a special school board meeting. Chief Operating Officer Jeff Borowy says they’ve been updating their guidance as the CDC and DHEC updated theirs.

“I will tell you the last five days have been more complicated with guidance than we have had during this entire Covid pandemic,” Borowy said.

Borowy says they are also rolling out a new DHEC strategy called Test to Stay. Students exposed to COVID-19 will be allowed to take a rapid test and if they test negative they will be allowed to stay in schools. They will then need to take a second test at least 24 hours later to confirm their negative status. The strategy does not require students to be vaccinated.

Students who test positive will still need to isolate for a minimum of five days but can return on day six if they are asymptomatic. Symptomatic students can also return after five days as long as they don’t have a fever.

The district has also changed how it teaches students in quarantine. They will still be given daily assignments just as it has been all year, but now students K-8 will also receive a phone call or the option to have a zoom class after school with a teacher.

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