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4 more county schools move to home learning, making 15 this week

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 3:58 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - In what’s become a daily refrain, the Richmond County School System announced Wednesday that students from four more schools will transition to home learning due to staff absences as COVID cases soar.

Goshen Elementary, Hephzibah High, Sandhills GNETS, and the middle school grade levels only at Belair K-8 will transition to home learning from Thursday through Monday, with students returning for in-person instruction on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the district had said Lamar-Milledge Elementary, Langford Middle, T.W. Josey High and Westside High would transition to the home learning with students returning Jan. 18.

On Monday, the district said Blythe Elementary, C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet, Glenn Hills High, Gracewood Elementary, Murphey Middle, Spirit Creek Middle and Willis Foreman elementary schools would transition to the home learning model from Tuesday through Friday. Students will return for in-person instruction on Jan. 18.

On Friday, the district said A. Brian Merry, Barton Chapel, Diamond Lakes, Monte Sano, and Terrace Manor Elementary Schools will transition to home learning from Monday through Wednesday, students will return for in-person instruction on Thursday.

For campuses that close, meals are available for pickup on school days from the side entrance of the school cafeterias between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“The Richmond County School System will continue to follow the guidance of public health officials to ensure the proper recommendations are followed to clean and disinfect our school facilities and act in the best interest of our students, teachers and staff,” the district said in a statement.

McDuffie County

THOMSON, Ga. - Students in the McDuffie County School System will return to in-person learning Wednesday, according to the school system.

The district had already delayed the start of school after the winter break, to allow time to evaluate the rising tide of COVID cases that are being driven by the ultra-contagious omicron variant of coronavirus.

There were no classes planned on Monday or Tuesday. After evaluating staffing numbers, the district announced on Facebook that it would reopen for face-to-face instruction for the rest of the week.

There may be slight delays in morning and afternoon bus routes due to absences among transportation staff.

McDuffie County was one of several outlying districts that delayed the return of students after winter break.

Orangeburg County

ORANGEBURG, S.C. - Citing a growing number of teacher and nurse absences, all Orangeburg County schools will transition to virtual learning for the rest of the week.

Orangeburg County School District officials announced that Wednesday, Jan. 12 will remain a regular school day for all staff and students who haven’t already transitioned to virtual learning. Teachers, staff, and students will then have time to gather any materials needed for virtual learning.

All schools will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Orangeburg officials said health authorities, the school board, and State Department of Education were consulted about the positive cases and quarantine numbers, which led to the decision to move virtual.

“In the last few hours, we’ve had a number of schools report nearly 50 percent of their student bodies are impacted, and absence data for today showed student absences for isolations and quarantines related to COVID-19 surpassed 1,000,” the district’s superintendent said, in a statement.

Aiken County

AIKEN, S.C. - The Aiken County school district has put out guidance on COVID protocol. Here’s a look at the guidelines:

The isolation period for someone positive may end after Day 5 provided all criteria to end isolation have been met. A mask must be worn through day 10.

  • The quarantine period for someone exposed to a positive case may end early after Day 5 with a negative provider test administered no earlier than Day 4 and no symptoms. A mask must be worn through day 10.
  • To be exempt from quarantine if identified as a close contact, you must have received all vaccine doses you are eligible for (completed initial vaccination series and booster for ages 18 and up, or completed initial vaccination series for ages 5-17).
  • Students and employees should stay home if they are not feeling well. Parents should contact the school nurse if a student cannot come to school. Employees should complete the appropriate reporting form online under I Am, An Employee, Coronavirus Information.

The following changes are being implemented to our COVID protocols per state guidance:

  • Individuals who are positive will isolate for 5 days. The individual may return to school/work on Day 6 if they meet the following criteria:
  • 5 days have passed since symptoms began or date of test if no symptoms
  • 24 hours have passed since last fever without taking medicine to reduce fever
  • Overall improvement in symptoms
  • Mask must be worn Days 6-10
  • Unvaccinated close contacts without symptoms may return to school/work on Day 6 with a negative test collected no earlier than Day 4. Masks must be worn through Day 10.
  • DHEC is now using the term maximally vaccinated for people who have completed their primary series and have had a booster shot, if eligible. Anyone eligible that does not have a booster after 6 months from the last dose of Moderna or Pfizer, or after 2 months of their Johnson and Johnson vaccine, is not considered maximally vaccinated.

Columbia County

EVANS, Ga. - The Columbia County School System on Wednesday sent parents a letter explaining changes to educate kids while keeping them safe.

Read the letter:

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