Back-to-School Planning

  • Our Back-to-School Planning Team, made up of more than 100 internal and external stakeholders prepared a Back-to-School Plan for community consideration. We are grateful for the input received on the draft through  community participation in our survey. Your feedback was thoughtfully considered by the Planning Team and, where possible, has been incorporated into the Back-to-School Plan included here, which was approved by our Board of Trustees during their Tuesday, June 15, meeting. This plan will be updated regularly based on modifications, additions, and deletions in accordance with guidance from the State Department of Education, SCDHEC, the CDC, or other state and local officials, and in concert with stakeholder feedback. At a minimum, this document will be updated every six months. 

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Back-to-School Plan (Accessible)

  • The full plan for school reopening is provided in the subsequent pages and is organized by major sections to help families find the information they need. The sections represent the focus areas of the Back-to-School Planning Team. 

    Health & Safety for Our Road Back to School

     

    The information contained in this document is accurate as of the publish date, June 16, 2021.

    Modifications, additions, and deletions may be made in accordance with guidance provided by the

    South Carolina Department of Education, SCDHEC, CDC, or other state and local officials, and in concert with stakeholder feedback. At a minimum, this document will be updated every six months.

    Overview

    Since Governor McMaster officially closed schools on March 16, 2020, Orangeburg County School District has been evaluating the safety and educational options within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    We acknowledge and appreciate the work that OCSD staff and students did to fully engage in eLearning during the fourth quarter of the 2019-2020 school year and the resilience that they’ve shown throughout 2020-2021.

    Our primary goal moving forward is for offices, schools, students, and staff to engage in the highest degree of educational services possible within a school environment that reduces the threat of COVID-19. We believe that goal can be met by focusing on three priorities: 1) Having a comprehensive plan for face-to-face instruction that meets the needs of students and families, with a limited option for eLearning through Orangeburg Online; 2) Implementing enhanced safety and sanitation protocols while students and staff are on school campuses; 3) Maximizing our schedule, building capacity, and financial and human resources to ensure students receive high quality instruction.

    In the fall of 2020 we re-opened to students in a Hybrid Learning Model while providing remote learning simultaneously to students at home through Orangeburg Online. By April 2021, we were fully opened five days a week to students enrolled in face-to-face instruction, though many students remained enrolled in Orangeburg Online. In August 2021, we intend to continue with five day face-to-face instruction, with fewer than 5% of our students enrolled in Orangeburg Online (the maximum allowable per state regulations).

    Guiding Values

    Orangeburg County School District’s motto is “We Are One.” Our core values are grounded in a commitment to provide meaningful experiences that shape students’ vision for the future and a focus on continuous improvement through collaboration.

     To that end, as we develop our fall reopening plan, we want to ensure our community of the following guiding principles:

    ·      Decisions will maximize face-to-face instruction to best meet the needs of students, families, and staff and will take into account the changing complexity of the health threat we face, as required by Senate Bill 704 included on the following page.

    ·      Safety protocols implemented within offices and schools while students and staff are on campus will be based on the latest recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control  and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

    South Carolina Senate Bill 704

    HOUSE AMENDMENTS AMENDED                                                        April 20, 2021

    1. 704 Introduced by Senators Hembree, Massey and Malloy S. Printed 4/20/21--S.

    Read the first time April 6, 2021.

    A JOINT RESOLUTION

    TO PROVIDE FOR A RETURN TO FIVE-DAY, IN-PERSON CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION FOR THE 2020-2021 AND 2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR, AND TO SUSPEND THE EARNINGS LIMITATION UNDER CERTAIN TERMS AND FOR CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA RETIREMENT SYSTEM.

    Amend Title To Conform

    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

    SECTION    1.    For the 2020-2021 School Year, every school district in the State must offer five-day, in-person classroom instruction to students no later than April 26, 2021. For the 2021-2022 School Year, every school district in the State must offer five-day, in-person classroom instruction to students.

    SECTION    2.    (A)    Due to the significant health threat and risks associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, the earnings limitation imposed pursuant to Section 9-1-1790 does not apply to a retired member of the South Carolina Retirement System to the extent provided in subsection (B) if the member:

    (1)    retired on or before April 1, 2019; and

    (2)    returns to otherwise covered employment in the K-12 public education system.

    (B)    A retired member who meets the qualifications of subsection (A) may be hired and return to employment covered by the system and earn up to $50,000 annually without affecting the monthly retirement allowance that the member is receiving from the system. No retired member participating under this section may be compensated for an employment period exceeding 36 consecutive months. An employer shall notify the system of the engagement of a retirement member to perform services, and if an employer fails to notify the system of the engagement of a retired member to perform services, then the employer shall reimburse the system for all benefits wrongly paid to the retired member. Nothing in this joint resolution may be construed to require an employer to hire a person after that person has retired.

    SECTION 3.    (A)    Due to the need for ongoing, high-quality instruction to address learning disruptions associated with COVID-19 for the 2021-2022 School Year, school districts are prohibited from assigning a teacher to deliver instruction to students simultaneously in-person and virtually, an approach often referred to as "dual-modality instruction," unless it is reasonable and necessary due to extreme and unavoidable circumstances in order to ensure that all students have access to highly qualified instructors.SECTION 3.    (A)    Due to the need for ongoing, high-quality instruction to address learning disruptions associated with COVID-19 for the 2021-2022 School Year, school districts are prohibited from assigning a teacher to deliver instruction to students simultaneously in-person and

    (B)    In the event that a school district determines it is necessary for a teacher to deliver dual-modality instruction, the school district must provide additional compensation to the teacher.

    (C)    For any teacher assigned by a school district to dual-modality instruction, the school district must provide the State Department of Education with the name of the teacher, school where the teacher is employed, and subject area in which the teacher was hired to teach. The State Department of Education shall report the information to the General Assembly at the completion of the school year.

    SECTION    4.    This joint resolution takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

     

    2021-2022 School Calendar 

    Accelerating student learning is important to our District. Please note in our 2021-2022 school calendar, the optional Extended Learning Days, August 2-6, September 11 and 25, October 9 and 23, November 6, January 8 and 22, February 12 and 26, March 12 and 26, and April 9, planned to help advance learning and provide intervention that may be necessary as a result of COVID. Transportation and registration information will be shared in the coming weeks. These Extended Learning Days were overwhelmingly supported by educators in a survey. Teachers participating in these additional non-contracted days will be compensated according to District guidelines.

     

     
    Health & Safety PROTOCOLS

    The situation surrounding COVID-19 changes on a daily basis and is likely to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Therefore, we cannot fully predict how the virus will directly impact our community next year. It is with that unpredictability in mind that all employees and students age 12 and above are strongly encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Our District will continue to follow and adhere to public health recommendations regarding the spread of coronavirus within our community and make school model decisions in the best interest of students, families, employees and the community.

    A.  Disease Metrics and Categories for Spread from DHEC

    Two-week cumulative incidence rate:

    The number of new cases in the prior two weeks per 100,000 people. This metric provides the recent incidence of COVID-19 infections in a county.

           Categorization (# cases/100,000 people):

    o   Low:                0–50

    o   Medium:         51 – 200

    o   High:               ≥ 201

     

    Trend in incidence rate:

    Whether the two-week incidence rate is increasing, decreasing, or stable compared to the previous two weeks. For purposes of this assessment, consider the trends to be equivalent to:

    o   Increasing =    High

    o   Stable =           Medium

    o   Decreasing =   Low

     

    Two-week percent positive rate:

    The percentage of individuals who tested positive out of the number of individuals tested with a molecular (swab, or PCR) test in the last two weeks for each county. The metric takes into consideration the number of tests performed in the county in the prior two weeks.

           Categorization:

    o   Low:                ≤ 5.0%

    o   Medium:         5.1 – 9.9%

    o   High:               ≥ 10.0%

     

    Overall Assessment for Each County

    1)    Determine the categorization for the incidence rate, the trend in incidence rate, and the percent positive rate for the county. Example:

    Incidence rate =  Medium

    Trend: Increasing = High

    Percent positive rate = High

     

    2)    If the rates are all the same categorization, that is the overall assessment.

     

    3)    If the rates are not the same categorization, take the average of them.

    Example County = Moderately High

     

    When to close a class/school

     District and school administration will work closely with state and local health officials (DHEC) to determine a course of action and make decisions, as necessary, in response to COVID-19 cases in schools.

     

    Vaccinations are Encouraged

    Vaccinations are Encouraged

    In an effort to protect the health and safety of teachers and staff members, Orangeburg County School District encourages all eligible individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Teachers and education staff were among the first groups eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 1B in the Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution Plan. Eligibility began for educators on March 8, 2021, and the District actively encouraged employees to get vaccinated as soon as possible. In addition to making available information about community-wide clinics, local pharmacies, and DHEC appointments, the District arranged an opportunity, in partnership with the Family Health Center, for employee-only vaccine clinics March 17, 2021, held at centrally-located school campuses throughout the county. Second dose clinics were held 28 days later, as indicated by the vaccine manufacturer (Moderna) on April 14, 2021. Student learning was asynchoronous on the Districts Vaccination Clinic Days, meaning instruction was not live and students engaged in learning through recorded lessons and independent practice.

    Children age 12 and older became eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on May 12, 2021. The District encourages all eligible individuals to receive their vaccination.

    Fully-vaccinated students and staff are exempt from required quarantine and isolation, unless they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Please note that the national Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), allowing staff members paid leave for coronavirus-related absences, expired in December 2020. Our District extended the benefits throughout the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year and expired that provision on June 30, 2021. Therefore, any employee impacted by coronavirus must utilize his/her accrued leave time.

     

    Face Covering Requirement & Opt-Out Provision

    Face coverings will be required throughout Orangeburg County’s schools and must be worn when social distancing cannot be maintained.


    Parents/guardians have the option to opt their student out of wearing a face mask, with the exception of a school bus. Face coverings are required on school buses. Opt-out forms are available at the school and must be completed yearly by the student’s parent/guardian, along with appropriate identification through an identification card or driver’s license. The option to opt-out of the face-covering requirement is available to any student’s parent/guardian, including students who have been vaccinated and those who have not.

    Fully-vaccinated teachers and staff are exempt from face-covering requirements so long as evidence of vaccination is provided and the employee completes an opt-out form. Employee mask requirement opt-out forms are only available to vaccinated employees, and those who are medically exempt.  

     

    B. Guidelines for Treating Staff/Students with COVID-19 Symptoms or Positive Test

    COVID-19 Symptoms

    ·      Any one of the following:

    o   Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

    o   New or worsening cough

    o   Loss of taste or smell

     

    ·      Any two of the following:

    o   Sore throat

    o   Muscle and body aches

    o   Chills

    o   Congestion or runny nose

    o   Nausea or vomiting

    o   Diarrhea

    o   Fever

     

    Staff/Students with symptoms of COVID-19 identified during the school day

    1)    Students and staff should be moved safely and respectfully to an isolation room for evaluation.

    2)    The individual should be provided a mask, wash his/her hands and students should be supervised by a staff member who maintains at least six feet distance and uses appropriate PPE. 

    3)    Parents are notified to pick up students within the hour.

    4)    Advise parents to call their primary healthcare provider or local Health Department for further guidance and to inquire if testing is needed. Advise them to report test results to the school. The individual may choose to isolate for 10 days, in lieu of going to the doctor.

    5)    Close off areas used by a sick person and do not use area until cleaned and disinfected with approved cleaner; 24 hours is recommended, if possible.

    6)   In accordance with state and local laws, school nurse or principal’s designee should notify DHEC of any case of COVID-19.

     

     
    When to return to school

    Staff members and students are advised not to return until they have met DHEC’s criteria for return. Please note fully-vaccinated students and staff are exempt from quarantine and isolation, unless exhibiting symptoms.

    1)    Staff members and students who have been excluded for COVID-19 symptoms should not return until they have either tested negative for COVID-19 or a medical evaluation determines that their symptoms were more likely due to another cause (e.g. sore throat due to strep throat). In this later case, the individual can return when they meet criteria for that condition.

    2)    Students or staff that require testing for COVID-19 will require a negative test or must complete the current isolation criteria for COVID-19 to return to school.

     

    Category 1

    If I think/know I had COVID-19, and I’ve had symptoms as listed above, then I must meet all of the following before coming back to school:

    o   It has been at least 10 school days since the symptoms first started

    o   And, no fever within the last 24 hours without taking fever-reducing medicine

    o   And, all other symptoms have improved

    o   Or, tested negative or medical evaluation determines symptoms were due to another cause

     

    Category 2

    If I tested positive for COVID-19, but had none of the symptoms listed above, then I can return to school when all of the following apply:

    o   It has been at least 10 school days since the test

    o   And, no fever-reducing medications have been taken in the last 24 hours

    o   And, I continue to have no symptoms

     

    Category 3

    If I tested positive or had COVID-19 and have a weakened immune system due to a health condition or medication, then I can return to school when:

    o   My health care provider written clearance

     

    Category 4

    If I have been around a person who has tested positive with COVID-19 (within six feet for more than fifteen minutes within the past two days/identified as a close contact of a person who has tested positive with COVID-19):

    o   Then I should stay home for 14 calendar days after the last exposure and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

    o  If a student or staff member lives in the same house as the positive case then quarantine for that student or staff member begins on the day that the positive household member has been cleared from isolation. If the staff member or student can separate themselves from the sick household member then quarantine begins on the day of last close contact with the ill person.

    o  Fully-vaccinated students and staff are exempt from quarantine and isolation, unless exhibiting symptoms.

     

    Category 5 

    If I have been around an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 and I maintained reliable social distance of more than six feet:

    o   The classroom will be disinfected before use again.

    o   Students and teachers will remain together in the same cohort to the extent possible.

    o   Students and teachers will be screened for fever and COVID-19 symptoms for a period of 14 days after the last contact with the positive individual.

    o   Any of these students or teachers who are being monitored and are found to have symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent home and will be required to get tested or complete the required isolation period to return to school.

    o   Students will wear masks when less than six feet apart.

     

    C. Guidelines for Employee Health

    Employee Enhanced Health Guidelines

    The District will implement the following Enhanced Health Protocols to provide for the safety of employees.

     

    The below applies to all, except fully-vaccinated staff as they are exempt from quarantine and isolation, unless exhibiting symptoms.

    1)    DO NOT report to work or to volunteer if you feel sick or have a temperature of 100.0 degrees or higher.

    2)    DO NOT ENTER the school if:

    ·      In the past 14 calendar days, you have knowingly been around anyone with COVID-19, within six feet and for fifteen or more minutes.

    ·      In the past 14 calendar days, anyone in your house has been placed under isolation. (Stay at home and call your supervisor for your next steps.)

     

    Employee Guidelines to Observe Throughout the Workday 

    1)    All employees must practice social distancing as recommended by the CDC or wear a cloth face covering if work does not allow for social distancing (see pg. 10 for employee opt-out provision available to vaccinated staff).

    2)    Instructional staff may wear a face shield when teaching students in the building.

    3)    Avoid touching face at all times.

    4)    Wash hands thoroughly and often with soap and water for 20 seconds.

    5)   If your job requires the use of gloves, wash hands after removing gloves.

    6)   Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after eating.

    7)    Do not eat in groups if you are not six feet apart.

    8)    Disinfect lunch area before and after eating.

    9)    Reapply masks after lunch if social distancing isn’t possible.

    10) Wipe down commonly touched items used throughout your workday, including but not limited to telephones, copier, pens and pencils.

    11) Remember to use proper hand hygiene before and after removing cloth face covering.

    12) Custodians will implement Enhanced Safety Protocols for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

     

    Employee Sick Policy

    1)    Employees are instructed to stay home, communicate with their supervisor and enter an absence if they have a temperature of 100.0 or higher or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms as outlined.

    2)    Employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 can return to work once they have met DHEC’s criteria for return.

    3)    Employees must be fever-free for 24 hours without fever reducing medicine.

    4)    Employees should notify their supervisor of anyone with whom they have been in close contact.

    Fully-vaccinated staff are exempt from required quarantine and isolation, unless they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Please note that the national Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), allowing staff members paid leave for coronavirus-related absences, expired in December 2020. Our District extended the benefits throughout the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year and expired that provision on June 30, 2021. Therefore, any employee impacted by coronavirus must utilize his/her accrued leave time.

     

    D. Guidelines for Student Health

    Student Enhanced Health Guidelines

    The District will implement the following Enhanced Health Protocols to provide for the safety of students:

    1)    DO NOT come to school if you feel sick or have a temperature of 100.0 degrees or higher.

    2)    Please note that fully-vaccinated students are exempt from quarantine and isolation, unless exhibiting symptoms. All others are not permitted to enter the school if:

    o  In the past 14 calendar days you have knowingly been around anyone with 
    COVID-19, within six feet and for fifteen or more minutes.

    o   In the past 14 calendar days anyone in your house has been placed under isolation.

    3)    If riding a school bus, all students must wear a cloth face covering while on the bus.

    4)    All students must practice social distancing of six feet as recommended by the CDC when entering the building, in the classroom (as space allows), in the hallways, and/or if a line is needed.

    5)    A parent/guardian opt-out form is available for any legal guardian who does not wish for his/her student to wear a face covering. Otherwise, if social distancing can’t be maintained, a face covering must be worn.

    6)    Students are expected to wear their own personal face covering and refrain from sharing face coverings with others.

    7)    Each student will use their own supplies as much as possible and any shared items will be disinfected after each use.

    8)    Custodians will disinfect frequently used surfaces throughout each day.

     

    Parent/Guardian Responsibility in Monitoring Student Health

    Children showing any symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home until they are well. To keep all classmates and school staff healthy, it is imperative that parents monitor the health of their children before sending them to school.

     

    1)    Take the temperature of any child demonstrating shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, muscle aches, chills, headache, new or worsening cough, runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting or nausea before they get onto a school bus or before they enter a school building.

    2)    Keep the child at home one or more days to monitor symptoms and consult your child’s doctor as needed.

    3)    If you decide to have a COVID-19 test, notify the school nurse of the results so that the school can implement enhanced health and safety protocols in the classroom(s) where your child attended. *All information will remain confidential between the school and family, as well as in accordance with any laws or regulations.

     

    School Visits

    All parents and other visitors to the school must first complete a temperature screening at check-in. Visitors with a temperature of 100.00 degrees or higher will not be allowed.

     

    School Responsibilities in Monitoring Student Health

    Perform daily morning screenings by reviewing symptoms of COVID-19 and asking students to report any symptoms to their teacher.  This could be done on an individual basis by asking each student as they enter their first morning classroom or on a group basis via morning announcements.

     
    Remind students that they should alert their teacher if they feel sick or develop symptoms throughout the day.

     

    Arrival Procedure for Reporting to School

    1)    Arrival times will be staggered and multiple entries will be used.

    2)    Social distancing of six feet and face coverings must be worn while waiting to enter the building (please note the opt out provision, page 10).

    3)    Students will have access to hand sanitizer upon entrance to school.

     

    Guidelines to Observe Throughout the School Day

    1)    Face covering must be worn while moving through the building if social distancing of six feet cannot be observed (note opt-out option on pg. 10).

    2)    Avoid touching face at all times.

    3)    Cover your cough by using your elbow or in a tissue then immediately wash hands.

    4)    Wash hands thoroughly and often with soap and water for 20 seconds.

    5)    Use hand sanitizer or wash hands before and after eating and frequently throughout the day (sanitizer stations are available in every classroom).

    6)    Maintain a social distance of at least six feet while eating lunch.

    7)    Bathroom breaks will be staggered. Students must wash hands after using the toilet.

    8)    No congregating in groups in parking lots, hallways, lunch areas, etc. Hallways each have six-feet distancing reminders.

    9)    School dismissal will follow social distancing guidelines as students exit the building.

     

    Student Sick Policy

    1)    Parents are instructed to keep their child home from school if their child has a temperature of 100.0 or higher or has experienced COVID-19 symptoms as outlined.

    2)    Parents must have a reliable back up to pick up a child who becomes ill at school.

    3)    Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 can return to school once they have met DHEC’s criteria for return.

    4)    Students must be fever-free for 24 hours without fever reducing medicine.

    5)    Parents should notify the school if anyone in the family has been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

    6)    Fully-vaccinated students are exempt from required quarantine and isolation, unless they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
     


     
    Guidance for Parents/Guardians

    Please talk with your child about the importance of:

    ·      Social distancing (stay six- feet apart from others)

    ·      Proper hand hygiene

    ·      Covering coughs and sneezes

    ·      Not touching their face

    ·      Not touching the personal belongings of others

    ·      Notifying their teacher if they are having COVID-19 symptoms or not feeling well