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BCSD reopening plan among first in S.C. to be approved

Published Tuesday, July 28, 2020

In a Monday announcement from the South Carolina Department of Education, it was shared that Berkeley County School District is among the first six South Carolina School Districts to have a reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year approved. 

The press release from the office of State Superintendent Molly Spearman described the Berkeley County plan and others as “high quality and innovative” while “keeping student and staff safety as their top priority.” 

“I commend these school communities for considering the latest scientific data and guidance along with the academic, social and emotional needs of students to make localized decisions,” she said. “Our goal is for every school to return to five-day face-to-face instruction as quickly as safety conditions allow. South Carolinians can support their neighborhood school by wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing, washing their hands regularly, and staying at home when sick. These precautions have the potential to significantly expedite our education system’s return to normalcy.” 

In an email to all employees later on Monday afternoon, BCSD Superintendent Dr. Eddie Ingram thanked principals, teachers, parents, students and others for their work to help shape the district’s plan to offer online and in-person instruction. 

“I want to congratulate and thank everyone who worked on this plan.  It is a representation of many ideas that were expressed and brought forward.  Also, it is a reflection of many hours of painstakingly hard work.  Whether you played a role on a committee, helped on the task force, or provided feedback, please know that your efforts did not go unnoticed.  I appreciate all who participated,” Dr. Ingram said. 

As BCSD moves forward with planning, work will continue and a majority of the focus will become more school specific. Principals are now working on individual plans that are practical for their buildings. 

“As you know, we don’t have “cookie-cutter” campuses,” Dr. Ingram said. “Each school is unique in design and will require different nuances to open safely when the time comes.  We will continue to work hard to plan and to offer our support moving forward.” 

BCSD was one of the first districts to submit a reopening plan, and details about the district’s intentions were published ahead of its submission. BCSD’s learning pathways meet the SCDE criteria of “offering both a virtual and face to face option, a time frame to review operational plans to move towards a full five-day face-to-face instruction model, and the establishment of how high quality instruction and a broad range of student services will be provided.” 

It's the belief of the SCDE and BCSD that a large number of families choosing a virtual option will enable safer face-to-face instruction (with added precautions). Approximately half of BCSD’s families have selected a virtual option.