SC Gov. Henry McMaster announces statewide closure of schools; DHEC updates COVID-19 cases to 28

Published: Mar. 15, 2020 at 2:09 PM EDT
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Sunday, March 15, 2020

COLUMBIA, SC (WRDW/WAGT) -- South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Education Superintendent Molly Spearman announced drastic measures Sunday to close schools statewide until the end of the month to help combat the spread of coronavirus.

In a Sunday news conference, McMaster, Spearman, and several DHEC officials updated the latest on the coronavirus spread to say that 28 people have been confirmed to have the illness.

But for schools, McMaster and Spearman said state schools would be closed until March 31.

Spearman also discussed the herculean effort to get most students in the state on with online testing. The state will work to equip 3,000 school buses with service providers to deliver WiFi and 6,000 buses to help the state deliver instruction materials.

The state is also pressing the U.S. Department of Education to grant them a waiver to suspend statewide testing.

Local school districts have been asked to submit 10-day instructional plans for the agency to review and online learning programs will be provided to all students.

McMaster has also asked that public gatherings indoors and outdoors be limited to 100 people or less. It was not a mandate, but a strong recommendation.

Statewide and municipal elections have also been postponed.

But on the topic of testing for the virus, McMaster said the state had no shortage of testing capabilities and that the FDA had approved the Medical University of South Carolina for testing that will begin at the end of this week.

McMaster also asked state residents to stop purchasing equipment -- such as surgical masks and gloves -- so that medical professionals may have greater access to them.

But mostly, the governor and his cabinet stressed the need for residents to remain calm, use common sense, and take precautions.

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