S.C. superintendent: Mask requirement, cleaning procedures will increase bus capacity to 67%

S.C. superintendent: Mask requirement, cleaning procedures will increase bus capacity to 67%
School bus (Source: WBRC)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – South Carolina’s top education leader announced on Monday that she is instituting a face mask requirement on all school buses.

Everyone who boards a school bus, including students, drivers and staff, must wear a face mask.

Superintendent Molly Spearman said that the face mask requirement plus bus cleaning procedures will allow school districts to increase ridership capacity to 67% instead of 50%. The bus cleaning procedures include using a disinfectant sprayer twice a day after the completion of morning and afternoon routes and frequently wiping down all touched surfaces with disinfectant.

“The SCDE and DHEC continue to expect and strongly encourage all students and staff to wear face masks within the school building,” Spearman added.

Spearman also announced reopening plans have been approved for six school districts.

The approved school districts are:

  • Allendale County School District
  • Anderson School District Five
  • Berkeley County School District
  • Saluda County Schools
  • Spartanburg County School District Two
  • Clover School District (York Two)

The Department of Education provided these highlights of the approved plans:

  • Clover School District and Spartanburg District Two are offering elementary parents five day, face to face instruction through their phased in “Family Model” that includes enhanced safety protocols and keeping students together in cohorts to mitigate the spread of disease.
  • Berkeley County School District is offering parents a traditional five day, face to face instruction option, a “blended distance” option that incorporates online learning platforms with live stream learning experiences, and a self-paced virtual option utilizing pre-made online courses such as those offered by VirtualSC.
  • Allendale and Saluda County Schools have both hybrid and fully virtual options with strong communication procedures with students and families to ensure they stay on track. Both districts have inclusive frameworks on how they will serve special populations such as students with disabilities and English language learners.
  • Anderson Five will offer students and parents in-person instruction five days a week as well as the option of enrolling in the district’s new virtual academy that will be staffed by district teachers who will provide virtual support throughout the school day for students who choose to learn from home.

Spearman said the Department of Education has received 73 reopening plans and is waiting for plans from eight districts, including Horry County Schools.

HCS has announced that it will not submit a plan until after the school board’s meeting on Monday, August. 3.

Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson has said that they are taking the time to talk to doctors, teachers and parents in order to make sure they are putting together the best and safest plans for students, teachers and staff.

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