Parents of District Five students should receive more information this week from the district. Understandably, this situation is very fluid.
Schools in the Lexington-Richland 5 school district are preparing to open for the 2020 fall semester on time next month, even if it means modifying how classes will operate in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Guidelines for reopening classes were announced at Monday’s school board meeting in Chapin. They foresee teachers returning to work Aug. 11, and students coming back Aug. 19.
When they return to campus, they will find social distancing enforced in all school facilities, in line with guidance from the S.C. Department of Education. There will be protocols for frequent hand-washing and sanitizing, including hand-sanitizing stations in classrooms and bathrooms. Educational spaces will be frequently cleaned, and local mask requirements will be followed.
Bus routes will also need to be adjusted to allow for more social distancing, with busloads cut in half and frequent cleaning.
School district staff are working on protocols for dealing with students or staff who develop symptoms of COVID-19, as well as any emotional support that students will need.
But specifics can be adjusted as the pandemic evolves, and parents will get more specific information from their schools in the next two weeks, said Superintendent Christina Melton.
Melton compared the guidelines to the weather alerts parents receive shortly before school hours have to be adjusted.
“This is where we are at this point, but it’s not necessarily where we will be later,” Melton said.
Plans can be adjusted after nine weeks, and after the end of the semester.