The Board of Trustees met this morning to review data and hear updates of our district preparedness to begin bringing students back to school. The Monday DHEC county report has our three counties at “High Risk.” However, the DHEC report from last Friday of cases in schools that have reopened was encouraging, as there were 158 cases - 89 student cases and 69 staff cases. While all agree that more than one is too many, it was encouraging that the numbers were that low.

Mr. Cox updated the board members about our supply of PPE and our cleaning protocols. Custodians and bus drivers have been trained in how to use the sprayers and foggers, and teachers have been trained in using the Biotab solution for their classrooms. We’ve obtained portable drinking stations for filling water bottles.

Nurse Lindle provided an update on our medical readiness. The district has partnered with Abbeville Area Medical Center to do COVID-19 testing for us to be able to get test results back quickly. Each school has an established sick room for those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and a separate office for administering medicine and dealing with non-COVID medical needs. Protocols are in place for exclusion, response, and reporting.

Last week we had a visit from MUSC and the State Department of Education to assess our readiness for reopening. The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) contracted with MUSC Health to use their “Back 2 Business” model to help schools in targeted districts reopen in as safe and healthy environment as possible. “Back 2 Business” is an initiative where a team of MUSC staff (nurse liaisons, infectious disease specialists, facility experts, etc.) walk through school(s) and provide a written “playbook” of recommendations to help prepare for reopening.

The board agrees, we are ready. The vote was unanimous to return to school using the A/B Instructional Model. (Check the Reopen 2020 link on our website for an A/B calendar.)

 Thanks to all for working so diligently in getting ready to reopen. We’re in this together! 

Everyone must exercise personal responsibility in and out of school so we can make this work!