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GCS requests community’s help in reversing COVID spread.
As COVID cases in Greenville County and the State of South Carolina continue to rise, Greenville County Schools is asking students, parents, and the greater community to help ensure the return to in-person school in the district is not derailed by rising numbers. GCS is asking all citizens to follow DHEC guidelines to help reverse the current increase: wear a mask when in public, avoid large gatherings, frequently wash or sanitize hands and high-touch surfaces, stay home and away from others when sick, and seek medical advice when running a fever, developing a new or worsening cough, experiencing shortness of breath, or losing the sense of taste or smell.
Thanks to the cooperation of employees and students, who have complied with established COVID-19 protocols while at school, the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 remains lower in our schools than in the community as a whole. In fact, based on statistical analyses using DHEC community spread data and internal GCS reporting, the risk of getting COVID-19 for those who attend or work at a public school in Greenville County is about half the rate of the community as a whole. Still, the Superintendent cautioned today that even if schools continue to be a less risky environment than the surrounding community, there is a point at which the district could be forced to return to 100% eLearning if the number of employees and substitutes available to work was insufficient for the proper supervision and instruction of students.
“In addition to normal employee absences, we are currently averaging over 150 vacancies each day as a result of isolation due to a positive COVID diagnosis (avg. 40) or quarantining due to direct exposure or possible symptoms (avg. 110),” said Superintendent Burke Royster. “By comparison, 29 employees were in isolation and 66 in quarantine on November 1. We want to keep schools open for in-person instruction, move forward with our plan to return middle school students to full-time face-to-face, and increase high school in-person attendance, but we need the cooperation of the community.”
Teachers who quarantine or experience only mild COVID symptoms can teach remotely from home, but schools must still have a responsible adult in each classroom to provide supervision and ensure students stay on task. With a significant number of substitutes who have refused all offered assignments this year, it is becoming increasingly difficult to fill in for absent teachers. Media specialists, school counselors, instructional coaches, and administrators are all being called on to help supervise classes, but at the expense of their usual duties and responsibilities.
Earlier this week, principals were instructed to have teachers prepare eLearning lessons in case a spike in cases over the upcoming holidays required GCS to revert temporarily to 100% eLearning. “We are not planning to go backwards on our Roadmap, nor do we wish to do so,” said Royster, “but it would be irresponsible of us not to prepare for that possibility, given the current trend.”
5K and 1st Grade Registration for 2021-2022 - 5K and first grade registration will be held December 1 - 4, 2020.
For more information, click the following link: 2020 5K & 1st Grade Registration
On Friday, December 11, 2020, from 8:30-10:30 a.m., GCS Virtual Program students in Grades 3-8 are invited to take the SC ACT-142 TE21 Post-assessments at their home-based schools.
Virtual students who participated in the SC ACT-142 Pre-assessments during LEAP Week (August 17-21) are encouraged to contact their home-based schools and RSVP to take the post-assessments on December 11.
Virtual students who participate in the post-assessments at their home-based schools on December 11 will not be counted absent from their virtual classes that day.
On December 11, virtual students must bring their Chromebooks and provide their own transportation to and from the home-based school location.
As we head into the holidays of Thanksgiving & Christmas, we are required to continue to report and submit all COVID positive and COVID exposure information to the district. This information allows GCS to track cases and exposures, and make informed decisions moving forward.
Therefore, I ask that you (parents) continue to inform me if something changes for you, your family, or our students. This includes both exposures and positive COVID cases. This is critical. Remember, if anyone in your household or your child is quarantined at home for exposure, and tests positive while on quarantine, I need to know that as well, as the return to school date will change.
If you need to report a Covid exposure or positive case to me over the holidays, please reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provide your child’s name, grade level, teacher names, and contact number. I will then contact you.
Thank you again for your assistance with this reporting. You have done a great job thus far, and I know you will continue to assist me in this. Thank you so much!
Please join me in saluting our Blythe Veterans on this special day!
Mrs. Miriam Morgan, Grade 1 Spanish Immersion Teacher, was an information manager stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico for 4 years while serving in the United States Air Force.
Mr. Brian Morley, School Secretary, served in the United States Naval Submarine Service as a Mess Management Specialist, serving on both nuclear powered ballistic missile subs and on nuclear powered fast attack subs. He was stationed in various locations including New London, Norfolk, and Scotland.
We are so proud of our staff member Veterans, and ALL who serve and have served our country. Thank you for your service and sacrifice!
It is wonderful to have our students back with us full time! Because we are now back in the building, mask wearing and social distancing are critically important. Please remember that ALL students are expected to enter the building wearing a mask. Our youngest students are not required to wear them all day long in class, but should always wear them while in the hallways when social distancing cannot be reliably maintained. Please help us with this!!
Please remember our new school hours this year. Elementary school begins at 7:45 and dismisses at 2:15. It is very important that your child be here on time (in the classroom when the 7:45 bell rings), and that you are here no later than 2:45 for afternoon pick-up. Please have students ready to exit your car as soon as you pull into the driveway each morning. Our afternoon carline is moving efficiently. Parents please be reminded to remain in your cars at all times. If you must get out to assist your child with a seatbelt or car seat, wear your mask at all times. Thank you so much!!
We are moving forward with welcoming all of our brick and mortar students back to school on the 5 day plan. 4K – Grade 3 are now back, Grades 4 & 5 will be back full time next week.
As you know, a major part of our ability to return to school 5 days/week is the installation of Plexiglas barriers in classrooms. Below you will find photos of what these look like in our classrooms.
A view of a classroom with Plexiglas barriers used to create 4-person pods.
A view of an individual pod.
A view of the teacher desk area.
Things are going very well with the Plexiglas and our transition back to full time! We have arranged our schedule so that every class can eat lunch in the cafeteria and play on the new playground once every week. All classes have 2 scheduled “recess” breaks daily and use various assigned areas around our campus. These schedules allow us to continue to observe social distancing requirements.
As we approach the holiday season, we realize that some of you may be considering international travel. Below is the current guidance with regard to international travel and return to school. It is imperative that you call the school upon your return to the US and before sending your child(ren) back to school to be certain the guidance from the CDC has not changed.
At this time, the CDC recommends avoiding all non-essential travel and both the CDC and SC DHEC asks persons returning from international travel within the past 14 days to monitor their health, stay home as much as possible and wear a mask while in public. Staff and students can return to school after U.S. or international travel provided they have not been knowingly exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms of illness in addition to adhering to all precautionary measures in place at the school.
Due to a recent USDA waiver, Greenville County Schools is providing free school meals to all students for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. There is no requirement to complete an application to receive this meal benefit. Breakfasts and lunches are available daily at all schools.
Parents, as we welcome more grade levels back to 5 day attendance, please remember that our car lines for morning arrival and afternoon pick-up will become longer. Please plan to leave a few minutes earlier each morning to ensure your child is at school on time. Remember students must be in their classrooms when the 7:45 bell rings in order to avoid being marked tardy. For those who have to assist students out of car seats in the morning, please do so as quickly as possible.
If you need to get out of your car to assist a young child with fastening a seat belt or car seat, please wait until the child is at your car, and always wear a face mask when you are outside of your car. If your child needs a car seat and you pick up in the front carpool line, it is helpful if you use the inside lane (closest to the parking lot) as that is the last lane to depart and will allow you extra time to fasten the child into the car seat without delaying others. This is for afternoon pick-up only.
We do ask that you remain in your cars at all times when in the car line. When necessary for you to leave your car, you must wear a face mask at all times.
Please have your child picked up no later than 2:45 each afternoon.
Tuesday, November 3 is National Election Day, and schools are closed on that day.
Thank you so much for your support of Blythe Academy!
Please join us this Wednesday at 7pm with Dr. JaQuinda Jackson!
The last session was extremely beneficial and informative for parents.
Here’s the line-up, go ahead and mark your calendars:
Oct 28th - Anxiety
Nov. 18th - Stuck Parenting and other negative thoughts.
Dec.16 - Boundaries
Open House Events for Greenville County Schools Magnet Academies will occur throughout October. The first application window is open from Monday, November 2 - Monday, November 30. Contact: Kelly Nalley, Academic Specialist, 355-4817. For more details, click on the flyer below:
Notice before withdrawing to attend non-public school:
Before withdrawing a student to attend a private/homeschool co-op it is HIGHLY recommended to check the accreditation on the possible enrolling institute. If your student returns to Greenville County schools from non-accredited (e.g., non-AdvancED) institution (home-school, private school, international school, out-of-state school, etc.), he/she must demonstrate proficiency in the credit bearing courses they are transferring in for HS credit. If a school is unsure whether the institution is accredited, they can use the accreditation agency list and Lookup to determine whether they are accredited.