Back to School
Oct 9 Update
The Oct. 8 Recent Disease Activity Report released by S.C. DHEC showed that Richland County’s disease activity remains at the high level. While the Two Week Percent Positive rate decreased, it did not fall to the threshold to be rated at a medium level. District leaders anticipated that the positivity rate would fall below 10% in this latest report. If that had occurred, Richland County’s overall rating would have moved from high to medium, and we would have started Phase 2 on Oct. 26 based on our Reopening Schools Plan.
We have made the decision to set Nov. 4 as the start date for Phase 2. This decision is based on the steady decline in the two week incidence rate, trend in two week incidence rate, and two week percent positive rate for the overall county as well as in the Richland Two zip codes. This is not a projected date, but a firm start date for Phase 2.
We are confident that shifting the start date for Phase 2 from Oct. 26 to Nov. 4 is the safest and most prudent course of action, as the Nov. 4 date provides five more days for disease activity to fall to safer levels for in-person instruction for the approximately 14,550 students who will return to schools and the teachers and employees who will be required to return to work. The additional five days also allows us to:
We recognize that zip codes and county lines are not absolute boundaries when it comes to the spread of disease. This is especially true in a highly mobile bedroom community like ours where families travel across multiple zip codes, or even counties, as they go about their daily lives. For that reason, there will always be some level of risk when resuming in-person instruction while the pandemic continues to impact our community. However, we believe we have taken every possible measure to mitigate the risks for a safe entry into Phase 2 on Nov. 4.
- take advantage of a previously scheduled teacher workday that will give teachers time in their classrooms before students return to the building and before they switch from all virtual to a dual modality (in-person and online) delivery method of instruction;
- ensure our safety measures meet the latest guidance from S.C. DHEC regarding the use of plexiglass when social distancing of six feet is not possible (This guidance was released on Monday, Oct. 5.); and
- facilitate a smooth transition between Phase 1 and Phase 2 by timing the switch near the end of the first nine weeks.
Learning Model Details
Phase 2 Details
- eLearning remains an option for students in Phase 2 and Phase 3.
- If a parent wants to change their student’s learning model (in-person or eLearning) for Phase 2 they need to contact the school by 9 a.m. on Oct. 19. After this deadline, there will be other opportunities to switch between eLearning and in-person based on certain circumstances or at designated dates, which will be published before Nov. 4.
- All students and employees in Richland Two will be expected to wear face coverings/masks. We urge you to begin practicing now with your child to wear a mask. Masks with vents are not effective face coverings. Schools will have face masks available for students and employees that need them. Students choosing to wear a face shield also need to wear a face covering/mask. Students will not be required to wear masks while they are eating, at recess, or PE, or during designated mask breaks by the teacher, e.g. after a math activity they pull their mask down for 1-2 minutes or less and pull their mask back up. Local pediatricians are supportive of all students wearing masks, even those with asthma and allergies. Please contact your school nurse if you have questions or concerns about face coverings for your child. Remember, "I Protect You, You Protect Me" while wearing a mask.
- Parents and employees will be provided a Daily Screening Checklist to monitor for symptoms. If a student or employee is experiencing any symptoms on the checklist, the student cannot go to school and the employee cannot come to work.
- Richland Two is following the guidelines published and updated regularly by S.C. DHEC regarding contact tracing, isolation and quarantine. All of our school nurses have been trained on conducting contact tracing. It is very important for parents and employees to notify their school nurse if a student or employee test positive for COVID-19.
- A COVID-19 dashboard on the district’s website will be used to report the number of positive cases at schools and district facilities.
- Desks and other furniture in classrooms are being reorganized to help students and employees maintain six feet of distance from each other as much as possible. Plexiglass or other forms of dividers will be used in classrooms that may be more difficult to reconfigure. Additionally procedures for drop-off, class changes and pick-up are being modified to accommodate for social distancing.
- Parent and Staff Toolkits have been developed to help with understanding these and other health and safety practices that will be implemented during Phase 2. These documents will be posted on the district’s website.
- As a measure to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19, non-essential visits will be limited. and only employees, students and essential visitors (e.g., food service suppliers, contractors, after school care providers, etc.) will be permitted beyond a school’s office area.
Transitioning to the Next Phase
Richland Two is currently in Phase 1, which means all of our students are receiving instruction from their teachers virtually either through the R2eSchool or eLearning at their zoned/assigned school. Many parents are asking if the district knows when Phase 2 will begin. There is no set date but here is information on how the decision will be made to transition to the next phase.
The district's three phases for returning to school are based on the South Carolina AccelerateED recommendations and the S.C. DHEC assessment for overall disease levels for our community. Every Thursday DHEC publishes the Disease Activity by County assessment on the agency's website. Based on their calculations, DHEC rates disease activity as either high, medium or low. Schools will follow the Phase 1 model while the overall rating for Richland County remains at the high level. Schools will follow the Phase 2 model while the overall rating for Richland County remains at the medium level. In Phase 3, the overall rating for the county is low and schools can transition to more traditional operations.
District administrators check this report every Thursday and the district's health coordinator maintains regular contact with S.C. DHEC to help us monitor the disease activity in our community. To help parents keep up with this information, we have a link on our Reopening Schools Website to the DHEC site. The transition between phases will not be immediate. Right now we anticipate giving schools and parents a two-week notice prior to transitioning from one phase to another.
We all have a part to play in getting to Phase 2 as quickly as possible: Wear a mask; Wash our hands often; Keep our distance from others when in public; Stay home if not feeling well; and Avoid large gatherings.
Student/Parent Handbook: Click on the thumbnail below to read the handbook.
eLearning Support for Parents
Parent eLearning Support Website
Back to School Blast video on eLearning
Starting on September 25, 2020 the district will begin serving curbside meals to Richland Two students on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The additional day of service is to provide meals to support students over the weekend. Meal distribution schools will remain the same as listed below. Bus routes to community sites will continue on Mondays and Wednesdays ONLY.
Phase One Meal Plan
As the result of the extension of the U.S. Department of Agriculture waivers allowing school district to serve free meals to students through Dec. 31, 2020, there is no charge for meals.
- Eight curbside meal service at schools 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Monday (2 Breakfasts & 2 Lunches), Wednesday (2 Breakfasts & 2 Lunches) and Friday (3 Breakfasts & 3 Lunches).
- Bethel-Hanberry, Bridge Creek, Joseph Keels, North Springs, Polo Road and Rice Creek elementary schools
- Dent and Longleaf middle schools
- Four bus routes with 13 total stops servicing community sites on Monday (2 Breakfasts & 2 Lunches), Wednesday (3 Breakfasts & 3 Lunches).
- Inn Town Suites-Two Notch (11:30-11:50 a.m.)
- Polo Estates (11:30-11:50 a.m.)
- Spring Garden/Hunters Way Apartments (11:30-11:40 a.m.)
- Spears Creek Mobile Home Park (11:30-11:40 a.m.)
- Parklane Apartments (11:30-11:45 a.m.)
- Alpine Regency Mobile Home Park (12:05-12:25 p.m.)
- Chimneys at Brookfield (12:10-12:25 p.m.)
- Charleswood (at JCC) (12:15-12:25 p.m.)
- Freeway Mobile Home Park (12:15-12:35 p.m.)
- Springtree Apartments (12-12:15 p.m.)
- Beldon Spring Lake (12:30-12:40 p.m.)
- Greenbriar Apartments (12:30-12:40 p.m.)
- KRC Wildewood (12:35-12:45 p.m.)
Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications
It’s very important that families who qualify for free and reduced price meals apply for this status as soon as possible. To find out more about the process please click here to read the parent letter that answers a lot of questions including who qualifies for free or reduced-price meals. The quickest and easiest way to submit an application for free or reduced-price meals is to use the online application. Click the link here to start the application.
As a reminder, families have to apply every year. That means students who attended schools in Richland Two in 2019-2020 and received free/reduced price meals MUST complete a new application for eligibility of extended benefits each school year. If you do not reapply, all meal prices will automatically change to full price.
If you do not have access to the online application form, you can submit a paper form. To turn in a paper application, you may
- FAX your completed application to 803-419-5839 OR
- RETURN your completed application to your child's school cafe manager OR
- MAIL your application to Richland School District Two Food & Nutrition Services, 124 Risdon Way, Columbia, SC 29223.
Community eLearning Child Care Options
We realize that some families will need child care during virtual learning days and afterschool. Please remember that Richland Two is not endorsing these centers or any particular child care provider. Parents should research and make the best decision based on their needs. Our goal is to inform parents about some of the child care offerings in our community.
Families can find a list of community eLearning child care providers and their full-day and afterschool services here.
School Supply Lists
For several years now, Richland Two has utilized a universal school supply list. Effective with the 2020-2021 school year, each elementary and middle school have developed a school-level universal supply list that contains the list of supplies needed at each grade level.
PLEASE NOTE: due to the variety of classes offered, there are no universal supply lists for high school students.
2020-2021 School Year Supply Lists
Richland Two's three-phase reopening plan
Based on extensive research and the guidelines provided by DHEC, AccelerateED, and our multiple surveys (click on the thumbnails below to review this data), the Richland District Two Reopening Schools task force has created a plan that uses a three phase approach for reopening our schools.