Rock Hill Schools, several other districts in our area shift to more in-person learning days

SC students returning to class with COVID cases rising

ROCK HILL, S.C. (WBTV) - Schools across our South Carolina area are planning on bringing students back for more days of in-person learning.

Some districts are starting less than two weeks from now. This as the coronavirus is surging in the Palmetto State.

Chester County, Rock Hill, Fort Mill, York and Chesterfield County school districts have reopening plans with a set date, but state data shows none of these counties are seeing lower community spread or cases.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control breaks up its county data into three parts: new cases within two weeks, new cases trends and percent positive.

New case trends mean new cases are either increasing, stable or decreasing every two weeks.

All five districts are considered high in each category. Despite the guidance from DHEC to consider these factors when making reopening decisions, all five have set a date for more days of in-person learning.

Chester County School district plans on going back to school four days in person. This will happen in phases starting with kindergarten through second the first full week in January. In a press release, the district says it will continue bringing grades in if the first wave works. Third through fifth graders will be asked to come back for for days on January 19th. Middle and high schoolers will follow around February 8th. Fridays are going to remain a virtual day for everyone.

Fort Mill announced last week it would do five day of in-person learning for middle and high schoolers starting January 26th. That is the district’s first day of the second semester, according to a Fort Mill Schools spokesperson. The spokesperson says the district is looking at health and safety protocols to help their decision.

Chesterfield was supposed to start five days of in-person this coming Monday, but a delayed plexiglass shipment pushed them back a week. The South Carolina Department of Education committed to sending schools PPE including plexiglass. Instead of the new date, the students will come back November 9th. The primary, elementary and middle school students will go back.

Rock Hill Schools plans on bringing its kindergarten through second graders back in two weeks and the rest of its students by the end of November. The district’s spokesperson says health protocols like wearing a mask and social distancing will remain in the new model. One parent says it is not a good idea.

“If it wasn’t safe in March when you shut it down you can’t tell me that now is better than before," says Colby Cameron, a Rock Hill Schools parent.

WBTV’s other districts have discussed bringing more students back in person but don’t have a set date yet for when that will happen.

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