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PHASE 2 TRANSITION 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 school 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 school days also allows us to:
  • 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. 
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.

Learning Model 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.
Phase 2 Details
  • 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.

10/9/2020

Site Alert
Richland Two will transition to Phase 2 of the reopening plan on November 4. More information coming soon to our back to school page.