Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2020
All GCS Schools Closed Through the Remainder of the School Year
eLearning Continues Following School Calendar
Today, the Governor announced that all South Carolina schools, including Greenville County Schools, will remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 school year. Students will not return to in-school instruction this year, but will continue with eLearning through the last day of school on Thursday, June 4, 2020. See Calendar.
The decision to remain closed is for the protection of our students and employees, as well as for public health reasons. The rule for social distancing, which requires limiting close contact with others and remaining six feet apart in public places, cannot be maintained on school buses or in school settings.
“This is not the way anyone in public education would have wanted the 2019-20 school year to end, but given the circumstances, I want to thank Governor McMaster and Superintendent Spearman for acting decisively to keep schools on eLearning for the remainder of the year after hearing the concerns of educators about the difficulties of operating school while maintaining social distancing recommendations,” said Superintendent Dr. Burke Royster. “Though our students and teachers have been especially challenged to adjust to a new way of teaching and learning this year, they have done an incredible job making this change and have modeled resilience for all of us along the way.”
He added, “I would also like to express my thanks to the GCS food service workers, transportation employees, and nurses who have been on the front lines preparing and delivering meals to children in our community. In fact, all our employees have stepped up and are continuing the operations of this district despite the challenges. Lastly, I want to say thank you to GCS parents. Many of them have been forced to balance work responsibilities with the roles of tutor and teacher, while also dealing with the stress of a pandemic and new economic realities. We should be proud of the way the entire Greenville community has responded to the unprecedented events of the last six weeks.”
Teachers will continue to post assignments through Google Classroom for grades 3-12, and Choice Boards will be posted on the GCS website and at food distribution sites for students in grades K-2. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher if they have questions about assignments.
Greenville County Schools is required by state law and contractual obligations to remain open through the end of the 2019-20 school year.
Parents, this is Greenville County Schools calling with information on report cards. We are asking all parents with BackPack accounts to please view your child’s report card online, June 8-19. If you do not have a BackPack account and need a copy of your child’s report card, contact the school and it will be mailed to you. You can contact the school via phone, email, or by notifying administrators that you need a mailed report card when you return your child’s Chromebook and text books. We hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer. Thanks again for partnering with us in these extraordinary times. Stay safe and have a great summer!
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. The disease it causes has been named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (COVID-19). Please remember, the risk to residents of South Carolina remains low at this time.
Stopping the spread of the virus through everyday practices (see poster) is the best way to keep people healthy. Symptoms may range from mild to severe and are similar to a cold or influenza. They include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Who is at risk?
Of the current known cases, children appear to be the least at risk. Those most at risk are the elderly, immunocompromised, or adults with certain pre-existing conditions. More information on COVID-19, such as prevention, treatment, and how it is spread, is available on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
Is COVID-19 active in South Carolina?
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has identified both confirmed and presumptive cases across the state of South Carolina. DHEC continues to be in communication with state agencies and community partners. The CDC keeps current (updated weekdays at noon) a map tracking confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. on the CDC website.
What is GCS doing to prepare for possible COVID-19 cases?
Greenville County Schools (GCS) has been actively involved in pandemic preparedness planning with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and local emergency response planners and agencies since spring of 2005. A portion of the District-wide Emergency Response document is dedicated to a comprehensive plan for responding to pandemics. That plan includes steps to ensure continuity of operations (such as financial obligations, building maintenance, and security) in the face of excessive absences and growing community alarm.
It also considers steps that would be taken to control the outbreak, in concert with governmental agencies such as the DHEC and the CDC, and provide continuity of service to students.
What response steps are we taking?
The stepped response found in the GCS Emergency Plan is meant to correspond to the seriousness of a local outbreak. Our responses are as follows:
- On April 22, the Governor announced that all South Carolina schools, including Greenville County Schools, will remain closed through the end of the 2019-20 school year. Students will not return to in-school instruction this year, but will continue with eLearning through the last day of school on Thursday, June 4, 2020.
- On Monday, March 16, GCS launched eLearning for all students. Students are using Chromebooks or printable assignments to complete lessons.
- eLearning and Google Classroom figure prominently into plans for secondary students and older elementary students, while those in primary grades (PK-2) are provided printable assignments. Knowing that students in primary grades may not have access to technology and many older students do not live in homes with internet connectivity, these plans require individualized solutions for some students.
- Students without internet connection can connect to Wi-Fi in the parking lots of any Greenville County school between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. or visit one of our Meal Delivery sites between 10 AM – Noon Monday through Friday to connect to bus Wi-Fi. There are 20 Wi-Fi only locations available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- Electronic lessons will be pushed out to grades 3 through 12 via Google Classroom.
- To ensure the students of Greenville County Schools continue to receive healthy and nutritious meals during the time schools are closed in response to COVID-19, Greenville County Schools is providing breakfast and lunch free of charge to anyone 18 and younger and special needs adults through the age of 21 at 15 school locations and 69 community sites in areas of highest economic need. Meals are prepared in our school facilities by trained Food and Nutrition Services Staff. All existing DHEC and FDA approved procedures for meal prep, storage, service, and sanitation will be observed.
- 4K preregistration and screening for April 1-3, 2020 are cancelled. Alternate 4K screening plans will be announced once we return to our regular school schedule.
- Charter Spectrum - Charter is offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. With this service students with district Chromebooks will have internet access. Please be very clear with the provider of the terms of the agreement and the point at which any charges may assessed.