• As the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) works to track cases of COVID-19 across the state, there is an understandable delay in reporting confirmed cases in public schools. Berkeley County School District is committed to providing stakeholders with accurate and timely information so the BCSD COVID-19 Case Dashboard has been updated to reflect the number of confirmed cases reported directly to Berkeley County School District. These numbers will be updated every business day to provide our community with a more accurate accounting of confirmed cases in Berkeley County schools.  

    The content of this database is general information for each location. Any necessary contact tracing is conducted by SCDHEC. This information is updated at the close of each business day. Please note the numbers provided are numbers of confirmed cases reported to the Berkeley County School District and are 14-day cumulative counts.

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  • At the regular meeting of the Board of Education on Tuesday, October 27, the Board approved revisions to the Berkeley County School District (BCSD) instructional calendar to add four half-day virtual instructional program (VIP) days for students. Teachers will use the second half of those four days as workdays. 

    On these VIP days, students will be learning from home independently for half of the day. All student assignments will be loaded to Google Classroom and/or other learning management systems by 7 a.m.

    BCSD half-day VIP/teacher workdays

    • Thursday, November 12, 2020
    • Monday, December 7, 2020
    • Tuesday, December 22, 2020
    • Monday, May 10, 2021

    To further support students, each teacher will set office hours that are posted or will be posted in Google Classroom and/or other learning management systems.

    Much like the eLearning days of the 2019-20 school year, teachers will have the flexibility to use time not spent assisting students to work in their classrooms, with their teams or participate in personal professional development.

    Again, this is a remote learning day, and all students will be learning from home independently. 

    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child's school. 

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  • About 85 percent of textile waste ends up in landfills where it occupies unnecessary landfill space.

    These were textiles that had the opportunity to be recycled but were not.

    The reason they do not get recycled is because of a lack of a convenient place to donate textiles.

    Residents might notice bright green bins on the property of some schools in Berkeley County School District, provided by a franchise called Clothes Bins, where families can actually recycle old textiles.

    The result is threefold with Clothes Bins: textiles get reused as inventory at local businesses, the recycling efforts actually raise money for BCSD schools, and the overall initiative produces a greener option for what residents can do with old clothes.

    Textiles include clothing, outerwear, footwear, undergarments, accessories, handbags and linens – these are all things that can go into the bins.

    Chad Boariu, director of marketing and training for Clothes Bin, said the franchise is the first clothing/textile recycling franchise in the nation.

    The bins are unlike anything else out there. They are equipped with sensory technology inside the bins that alerts Clothes Bins when they are about to be filled up and need servicing – very similar to a vending machine, he said. This technology is called BLIP – Bin Location Information Program – which monitors each bin and alerts the franchisee whenever a bin approaches its capacity and needs to be serviced.

    Clothes Bins is in about 15 states, and there are individual schools as well as full districts that have contracted a bin.

    BCSD schools with a bin receive multiple benefits: one is it shows the district believes in a green program, and another is individual schools being able to show the overall impact of recycling as a whole.

    “You are able to show how you give back to the community,” Boariu said.

    Boariu said Clothes Bins’s biggest takeaway is just from the landfill – “we’re trying to make that smaller,” he said.

    The schools get paid per pound of everything recycled in the bin, and that is where the fundraising comes in; they receive seven cents per pound that goes back into the school. The bins can hold 600 pounds, so a school could potentially make about $42 every time the bin reaches capacity.

    Schools use the money for different items; some of the money is used as “cushion” money while others may go toward the school’s PTO (see the full list of schools with a bin below).

    The clothes provided into the Clothes Bins go on to provide inventory for local thrift stores – which is where the recycling part comes in.

    “Our biggest thing is there’s always another use,” Boariu said. “Once it goes into a landfill, that’s it.”

    Many of BCSD’s schools fall into the territory of Mary Anna Lewis, owner of Lowcountry Textile Recycling. A majority of the schools within the territory were offered a bin, and the first set of bins were set up in May 2019.

    Lewis stressed that these clothes are recycled to help local businesses.

    “It’s recycling. It’s (being) stewards of the community, it’s fundraising for the schools,” she said.

    Boariu and Lewis said they are not discouraging residents from donating used clothes to charities of their choice, but the Clothes Bins model is one that results in a direct effect on the students and administration in that particular school.

    A lot of the clothes collected also go to impoverished areas of other countries, like the Dominican Republican and Uganda, where locals can sell the items in their own markets.

    “It’s going to third-world countries to marketplace vendors who are feeding their families off of reselling this stuff,” Lewis said.

    Clothes Bins has also previously gone into schools to promote the educational aspect of it to students, to show them how they can create business partnerships to help the earth and also provide jobs for families.

    BCSD schools use the funds they receive for different items. Hanahan High Principal Tom Gallus said his school puts it in its miscellaneous activity account and use it for supplies for staff and students.

    “If there is a student in need, we will use this account to supply them with supplies,” he said.

    Whitesville Elementary Principal Katie Taie said her school has been very happy with Clothes Bins. The school uses the funds to supplement field trip costs for parents, and for providing arts performances and enrichment activities for students. The PTO receives the funds and then provides financial support for those experiences.

    Whitesville reminds parents through social media and Blackboard to “clean out” their closets when school administration notices upcoming teacher requests.

    “Clothes Bin has benefited our school the most by allowing us to decrease the amount of money that we ask parents to spend for additional activities,” Taie said. “Over the past couple of years, we saw a substantial increase in the cost of buses for field experiences and needed to find a way to supplement that burden for our parents.”

    Sangaree Elementary Principal Tara Baker said the school has raised a little less than $100 and all funds right now are in the school’s business partner account. She plans to put out a blurb to remind families to provide textiles if they can.

    “We would love to raise more (money) to purchase additional personalized learning materials,” she said.

     

    Schools with a bin

    Berkeley Elementary

    Berkeley High

    Berkeley Middle

    Boulder Bluff Elementary

    Bowens Corner Elementary

    Cane Bay Elementary

    Cane Bay High

    Cane Bay Middle

    College Park Elementary

    College Park Middle

    Foxbank Elementary

    Goose Creek Elementary

    Goose Creek High

    Hanahan High

    Hanahan Middle

    Nexton Elementary

    Philip Simmons Elementary

    Philip Simmons High

    Philip Simmons Middle

    Sangaree Elementary

    Sangaree Middle

    Westview Elementary

    Whitesville Elementary

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  • The purpose of this site is to share information for parents to understand the different technologies being used for instruction as well as provide tips for troubleshooting when tech challenges arise.

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  • When Philip Simmons Elementary had to cancel its production of “The Music Man”, the school opted to do another type of activity to get students to perform.

    Music teacher David Frazer said the school was originally going to host “The Music Man” on April 30, and then livestream it in May.

    “It was really heartbreaking to have to tell families that our musical was cancelled,” Frazier said. “We had so many students that worked so hard to memorize their lines and their music.”

    The school instead decided to do a virtual talent show. Frazier said the school shared information via the school news program and had students audition through FlipGrid. Frazier then did a survey with the parents of those could participate to find a day/time that worked best for everyone to perform live.

    Frazier then met on GoogleMeet a few days later with the show’s MC, fourth-grader Grace Hatcher, and the participants to make sure everything worked out. For any students that could not be there on the day, the school used their audition video or a new video of them performing.

    Students submitted videos of themselves showcasing their different talents: gymnastics tricks, instrumental performances, singing, magic tricks, skateboarding and anime drawing were among some of the submissions.

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  • As medical personnel continue to fight COVID-19 from the front lines, families around the world are looking for ways to help out, even while trying to adhere to social distancing restrictions.

    One of the things residents are doing is making masks to send to the medical community.

    A Philip Simmons Elementary family has joined the brigade and is making masks at the family’s dry cleaning business.

    Robert Sebestyen owns Americlean/Julius Alterations and Cleaners on Highway 41. He is joined by his wife, Marti, and their two children: second-grader Abigail and kindergartener Lukacs.

    The family most recently joined forces to make about 30 masks that went to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

    Robert referenced a video he posted to Facebook in which he described a conversation with his children about the Pledge of Allegiance, and what the stars and stripes on the American flag represent.

    The stars might represent the 50 states, but Robert told them they’re more symbolic than that – they represent the people who live in those states.

    “I said, ‘kids, we’re in a time of need right now; our nurses, our doctors, need help,’” he says in the video.

    Robert asked his children if they would be willing to give up a little bit of their playtime during the day to help make masks.

    Growing up in the drycleaning/tailoring business, Abigail and Lukacs were already a little familiar with sewing. They have helped measure and cut material and align the elastic that goes inside the masks.

    The family got material from Hobby Lobby – all brand new fabric that was washed with hot water after purchase.

    They made about 50 masks – some were donated to a local veterinarian tech, a few went to some neighbors but the bulk of it went to MUSC.

    The masks are washable, 100-percent cotton with polyester inserts.

    Marti said she has enjoyed seeing them work together and thinks it is a good learning experience for them.

    “It’s awesome,” she said.

    lukacs and abigail

    Lukacs and Abigail work on the masks.

    They are continuing to make some, and are not placing a price on the masks – but are asking for people to donate whatever they can in exchange for masks.

    Abigail said her brother has cut the elastic and gotten handy with the fabric chalk. She also helps cut the elastic and has sewed a little bit.

    When they were asked if they miss school, both responded “YES” very enthusiastically. Abigail is in Robyn Wyman’s class at Philip Simmons Elementary and Lukacs is in Colleen Bendig’s class. They said they miss their teachers.

    Abigail was scheduled to participate in All-County Chorus and star as Mrs. Paroo in her school’s musical, “The Music Man,” but both have been canceled – “and I’ve been looking forward to those things for so long,” she said.

    While they miss school, they have also enjoyed helping out with the masks – “amazing”, “great” and “happy” were the words they used to describe how they felt about lending a hand.

    The family also made a separate Facebook video that portrayed Robert, Lukacs and Abigail going out to “fight” COVID-19, but Abigail ends up being the voice of reasoning that explains to the other two – and viewers – that the way families need to help “fight” it is by washing their hands, practicing social distancing and staying safe.

    Abigail said she enjoyed being the one to deliver that line, “because you can’t really fight it with a gun or something. You have to…wash your hands, keep the distance and stay safe.”

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