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3/15/2020 BCSD coronavirus update (school closures)

Per Governor McMaster’s order, all Berkeley County School District schools will close to students beginning Monday, March 16 through at least Tuesday, March 31

As a result of Governor McMaster’s school closure order issued during the press conference Sunday afternoon, all Berkeley County School District schools will be closed to students beginning Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31.  

We realize the decision to close schools presents various hardships for many of our families.  Below is information that will hopefully assist you as we move forward during this public health emergency.  Please understand the District will work in the best interest of our stakeholders and are committed to constantly monitoring, continuously communicating and transforming our plans as needed and as we receive more information. 

ALL BCSD employees are to report to their location Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17, at 8 a.m. and should plan to work the number of hours per day as stated in his/her job description to prepare for the extended school closure. Information concerning the need for additional work days and schedules will be forthcoming. 

All after school activities and sporting events are canceled until further notice and information concerning rescheduling will be released when it becomes available. Additionally, all before and after school day care programs are canceled until further notice. All student registration dates will be rescheduled following the return of staff and students. 

All field studies and school-related activities are canceled until further notice. This includes all students and adults. There will be no travel in or out-of-state.

The Berkeley County School Board will meet in an emergency called meeting on Monday, March 16, 2020, at 5:30pm in the boardroom to consider necessary authorizations for response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  

Modified eLearning plan

While eLearning has been designed and utilized as a make-up day tool, as an active participant in the state‘s eLearning pilot, BCSD is uniquely prepared to modify our eLearning plans to continue offering instruction to our students. As a part of our modified, emergency eLearning plan, BCSD students will have the opportunity to participate in instruction from home with provided materials, and teachers will be available to support students during his/her regular school schedule. Please do not expect to receive any instructional materials or assignments for eLearning from your child’s teacher until Wednesday, March 18, 2020. 

BCSD school leaders and teachers will communicate with students and parents regarding how they can be contacted during school hours to support student learning. For example, some teachers may choose email for this communication and others may prefer Google Classroom. The support format a child’s school and/or teacher will be using will be communicated to parents and guardians via phone calls, emails, and/or social media. Our school leaders and teachers will contact parents/guardians and provide further guidance on expectations as soon as plans for instruction are finalized.

This modified, emergency eLearning experience does require that students in grades 1-12 have a Chromebook device checked out with a power adapter. Due to Friday being an eLearning day, we anticipate that the majority of the students have a school-issued electronic device.  If your child does not have his/her school-issued electronic device and power adapter, please contact your child’s teacher or the school’s front office tomorrow, Monday, March 16 to receive information regarding how to check out a device. Parents will remain outside while the school follows the protocol for device check-out.

Although we cannot replace the value of traditional instruction that provides for direct student and teacher interaction with eLearning, we know that continued instruction is important and ask that our stakeholders trust and support our very capable educators as they adjust to their modified teaching and learning model. We recognize this is a huge undertaking and will require tremendous effort from all; however, BCSD is resilient and recognizes the call for demonstrating adaptability and critical thinking to provide the best possible experience for our students. If you have any questions or concerns pertaining to an individual circumstance, we ask that you communicate that to your child’s teacher / school.

Revised student feeding locations (3/23/2020)

BCSD will provide lunch and snack AT NO COST to children 18 years of age and younger during the school closure as a drive-through PICK UP service. We recognize that the support our children and families need remains the same and may even increase during this time. Twelve schools throughout the district will provide hot lunch and a snack for PICK UP, Mondays through Fridays.

Information on student feeding sites can be found on our regularly updated list linked here.

It is our priority to ensure that our students continue to receive the proper nutrition during this school closure. This service is available to ALL Berkeley County children 18 years of age and younger. No student will be permitted to enter the building or eat on-site.

District and school staff expectations, compensation, and leave

ALL BCSD employees are to report to their location Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 at 8 a.m. and should plan to work the number of hours per day as stated in his/her job description. This will allow time to prepare schools for the extended closure and to ensure that eLearning plans are prepared and ready for release to students on Wednesday, March 18. All employees are asked to enter the building through the main entrance as all other doors will be locked. Employees are asked to self-report any health concerns they may have directly to their supervisor before reporting to work. We are currently crafting a precautionary plan for arrival to ensure that employees entering our buildings remain healthy and safe.

We understand that you may have many questions that pertain to compensation, leave and benefits, so we will be providing further information following the emergency meeting of the Berkeley County Board of Education scheduled for Monday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m. Please continue to monitor your BCSD email account. 

Student and staff privacy

BCSD will continue to protect student and staff privacy and ensure that information concerning the health of students and staff is not shared with unauthorized individuals. We ask that everyone commit to keeping information concerning the health of all students and staff confidential. Please refrain from making assumptions about our students and staff, and help to assist us by not sharing any rumors you may hear concerning the health of any student or staff member.

Additional information

Cleaning agents used in Berkeley County School District schools are believed to be effective against coronavirus (COVID-19), and we will continue to comprehensively clean our schools and buses to prevent the spread of harmful viruses. 

Please see the linked guidance from the CDC.

SCDHEC has also provided information and guidance that will be updated regularly as needed.

Please continue to follow BCSD on Facebook and Twitter, and check the district website for any updated information.