The quarantine/isolation rules are in place to prevent further spread of the virus and based on the data and contact tracing it appears that these rules have been rather effective. In fact, the clear majority of the quarantines trace back to either a home or community exposure outside of the school.
SCDHEC continues to offer guidance that based on their data, the operation of schools has not lead to increased community spread. They see no correlation between schools operating face to face or virtually and the number of cases in a county. In fact, they have even suggested that spread may be lower when students are actually in school since schools are a much more structured environment.
The school district’s operations can be significantly impacted by staff quarantines since each quarantine represents a staff member who is unable to work. So far, our school and district operations have been able to find ways to reassign duties and responsibilities so that we have been able to maintain the operation and supervision of all schools and students.
While we do not plan to make any significant changes in our instructional model at this point, we do plan to take some steps to insure that we continue to have adequate staffing to continue operation.
Chesterfield County School District was scheduled to have a half day on Friday January 15, 2021. This day will now be a “learn from home” day for all students. Teachers will be guided by their school principals on appropriate instructional activities for teachers to assign for this day. All district schools will be closed.
Chesterfield County School District will still be closed on Monday January 18, 2021 for the observance of the MLK Holiday. These two closure dates, along with the weekend will allow for a four-day pause that will allow additional time for staff members who are currently quarantined to complete their time and return to work.
During this closure, our custodial and maintenance staff will do a thorough disinfecting of all facilities.
Our school district, like most others across the state, has seen impacts from winter sports on student and staff quarantines. In order to avoid potential impacts on students and staff during the four-day closure, we will pause all extracurricular activities (both practices and competitions) beginning Friday January 15 through Monday January 18. At this time, we will plan to resume activities on Tuesday January 19. This of course is subject to change if conditions warrant.
As we continue to move forward, we will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as conditions change.