LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - It was a return months in the making.
Monday, some of Lexington County School District 4 returned to the classroom for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They’re part of the district’s “hybrid” model, where students have in-person instruction Monday-Wednesday or Tuesday-Thursday. The other three days will be virtual.
In a press release on the first day back, the district estimated two-thirds of the student population is participating in the hybrid model.
One of them is the daughter of Wil Singleton.
He said he understands the risks, but ensuring his daughter's education is the priority.
“You take a chance anywhere, anything you do. So I’m not really concerned with it. We’ll deal with it if it comes up. I’m more concerned with my daughter not getting her education she needs, and missing out.” he said.
"I'm ready for her to go back."
As of August 17, the Department of Health and Environmental Control reports Lexington County has seen 5,129 positive cases and 119 deaths.
Lexington School District 4 father Joe Llison said COVID-19 is too much of a risk, and his daughter will be utilizing the district's full virtual option.
“Think about it, every day your kids are getting sick you’ve got to run to the doctor with them. Now my father-in-law he’s in the hospital, a couple of weeks ago my brother was in the hospital with COVID-19,” he said.
The district sent WIS the following statement:
“Schools in Lexington District Four are welcoming students back into the classrooms Monday, although things will be much different than in previous years due to COVID-19. The reopening plan provides parents and students with a choice between a K-12 virtual program or hybrid model consisting of both on-campus and virtual instruction. This model allows the district to meet safety recommendations from the SC Department of Education, the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Roughly 1/3 of the student population is enrolled full time in the district’s Virtual Instruction Program. The remainder will be attending school on a hybrid schedule, with half attending classes in person Monday and Wednesday and the other half attending Tuesday and Thursday. The remaining three days consist of virtual instruction. Parents were provided the option to choose their preferred method of instruction for their children.
“Our decision to reopen Monday was based on the needs and situations of our students, families and staff,” Lexington Four Superintendent Dr. Robert Maddox shares. “There is definitely not a “one size fits all” solution, and other districts have been going through similar processes for their schools and communities. We need to meet the guidelines and recommendations set forth by the South Carolina Department of Education, DHEC, and the CDC, and we also want to ensure that what we have in place is best for our community. We did this through staff, parent and student surveys, consultations with federal and state agencies, and months of preparation and planning to provide students the opportunity to learn in a safe and healthy environment.”
All Lexington Four employees and students will practice guidelines established to protect one’s own health, preserve the health of others, and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Key safety practices include 1) daily self-monitoring of health including temperature checks, 2) avoiding close contact by maintaining appropriate physical distancing, 3) using proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, and 4) following face-mask requirements and guidelines established by the SC Department of Education and the CDC.
There are six Wi-Fi access points throughout the district for students without internet access. In addition, 300 hot-spot connections and 70 fiber connections have been requested from the State of South Carolina for households that meet eligibility guidelines. Take-home breakfast and lunch meals will be provided to hybrid students for their virtual learning days, and students enrolled full-time in the virtual program will have meals available for pick up at Frances Mack Intermediate School and Swansea High School Freshman Academy.
Lexington Four will continue to monitor the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and update our students, families, and staff with information by providing updates on our website www.lex4.org.”