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115 Students & Employees Covid-19 Positive; 95% Electing to Wear Face Coverings

Orangeburg County School District recently wrapped up the second week of school with 95% of students heeding public health recommendations to wear a face covering while indoors.

“The CDC is continuing to recommend extra safety precautions. We need to continue to follow these and encourage them around the district,” District Superintendent Dr. Shawn Foster commented. “The safety and health of our students and staff is top priority. We need to do what we can in order to limit the risk of exposure and keep our community safe.” 

With total enrollment across the District of 10,833 students, nearly 10,250 are consistently electing to wear masks. Each and every student is wearing a mask at Bethune-Bowman Elementary, Bethune-Bowman Middle/High, Brookdale Elementary, Clark Middle, Elloree Elementary, Howard Middle, Hunter-Kinard-Tyler Elementary, Hunter-Kinard Middle/High, Marshall Elementary, Mellichamp Elementary, OCSD Alternative Program, Rivelon Elementary, Vance-Providence Elementary, and Whittaker Elementary. And, on several other campuses, you’ll find that there are five students or less without a face covering. Schools with five or less students wearing a mask include, Holly Hill Elementary, Holly Hill Roberts Middle, Lake Marion High & Technology, Sheridan Elementary, and St. James Gaillard Elementary.
Chart Face Coverings

Since the start of the new school year (August 16, 2021), the number of positive student cases are at 89. Seventeen students received positive COVID-19 test results the first week back, and an additional 72 cases were reported the second week, August 23-27, 2021.

School nurses and administrators are tracking positive cases of COVID-19 and are identifying individuals who may have been in close proximity to the positive case during their contagious period, beginning up to 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms. Any individual within DHEC’s definition of close contact for 15 cumulative minutes is required to quarantine, unless an exemption is requested due to their full vaccination status or because they have received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis within the last 90 days.

District wide, 567 students have been quarantined since the start of the new school year. Employee quarantines through Friday, August 27, totaled 66, with 26 positive for the virus and an additional 40 identified as close contacts and required to quarantine. 

As coronavirus numbers increase throughout the state, South Carolina’s State Department of Education is enforcing again the CDC’s order requiring the use of face coverings by students and staff on state owned and operated school buses. Since the much debated “Mask Mandate Prohibition” (Proviso 1.108) did not extend to school buses, our District was already requiring face coverings on school buses. 

“We remain committed to ensuring the safest possible environment for students and staff to the fullest extent practical for teaching, learning and school operations and as allowable under the law,” Foster explained. “We will continue to take as many safety precautions as possible while also urging all students, staff, and parents to do the same.”