Lexington School District One pulls plug on in-person learning after holidays

Lexington School District One pulls plug on in-person learning after holidays

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Schools are getting ready to close their doors for the holidays, but one school district is now saying that they won’t be reopening their doors immediately after the New Year.

Lexington School District One is going virtual for the start of their semester, with Superintendent Dr. Greg Little saying after looking at the data, the picture was not a good one when it came to the potential outbreak after the holidays.

“We pushed our decision to the last possible moment because we wanted to make sure we had the clearest picture,” Dr. Little said.

He said they made the decision on Friday after the district’s COVID-19 case numbers came in.

“If you’re sitting on the beach and you see a tsunami coming, you don’t just stay on the beach,” Dr. Little said. “You leave the beach area and you come back when it’s safe to do so.”

Dr. Little said district officials followed the same line of reasoning when it came to the decision to return to e-learning for the first week of January.

“We knew what we were going to face after what we learned from Thanksgiving,” Little said. “If that peak is even more over the holiday, we knew we needed to intervene when we came back.”

He said since November 19th the number of cases among students has quadrupled and the number out on quarantine has tripled. The district clocked 85 active positive cases and nearly 900 students out on quarantine on Friday.

“What we don’t want to have happen is a student comes back to school, and they are in a revolving door of nothing but quarantine,” Dr. Little said

E-learning will now take place for all students the first week of January. Kindergarten through 6th will return four days a week in person the second week of January with 7th through 12th graders returning to a hybrid model.

“A lot of teachers I’ve been in communication with are really relieved,” Mary Smith, a Lexington One School Psychologist, said.

“When a student tests positive, the whole class has to quarantine and your virtual anyways so why not go ahead and plan for that,” Smith said.

Dr. Little said the goal is to get kids back to the classroom as quickly as possible, but that safety is always the first priority.

“We realize that younger students aren’t as successful in the virtual model as our older students,” Dr. Little said. “As well as the childcare issues, so we wanted our youngest students back as quickly as we could get them back.”

Dr. Little stressed that he hopes that the e-learning week will allow kids to quarantine who might have come in contact with the virus so they can bring students back to the classroom as quickly as possible.

All athletic practices and competitions have also been canceled starting today until January 8th across the district.

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