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DHEC releases new guidelines for when schools should switch to virtual learning

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 7:15 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2021 at 1:27 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Department of Environmental Control has released new guidelines for when schools should switch from in-person learning to virtual learning.

That guidance says that schools should go virtual if 30 percent of students are out of class due to testing positive for COVID-19 or quarantining due to exposure.

DHEC also recommends switching to virtual learning if 5 to 10 percent of students at a school are infected with the virus.

“There really isn’t any data for schools in the era of the delta variant,” Brannon Traxler with DHEC said. “It’s difficult to compare to last year because it’s a different strain of the virus. it affects children more easily and spreads more easily so those are factors we took into consideration.”

DHEC says multiple schools have reached out to them for guidance.

Local superintendents say they find the new information to be helpful when as they deal with the delta variant.

Lexington One School District has 9 schools that have switched to virtual learning. That’s one-third of students that are not learning in-person.

Lexington One Superintendant Dr. Grerogey Little says DHEC’s guidelines have helped him.

He says he is digging into the data using a three-prong approach to decide if the students are safer at home or in class.

He says he looks at the number of students out, teachers out, and the amount of faculty out when deciding which schools should switch to virtual.

It’s important to remember these are just guidelines. DHEC says there are no mandates or rules that districts have to follow.

If a school switches to virtual learning, DHEC recommends that they remain virtual for 7 to 14 days then re-evaluate the situation.

To read the full guidance, click here.

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