District 55 Schools Switch to Yellow (Hybrid) Phase Monday

Laurens County School District #55 will move to a Yellow “Hybrid” phase of operations this coming Monday, September 21st. According to District 55 Superintendent Dr. Ameca Thomas, “We are pleased to see a tremendous decline in the data coming from DHEC this week. We know the change to a Red eLearning phase to start school was disappointing, but we believe a rapid reaction to any upward change in data is essential to protect our students, staff, and the broader community. Our continuation of eLearning for the remainder of this week is intended to give families time to plan for the change to hybrid and to solidify the improving trend in the risk of the spread of COVID-19.”

Dr. Thomas indicated that the DHEC report released on Monday, September 14th showed Laurens County with a two-week incidence rate of 97.8 per 100,000 (a medium rating), a trend in incidence rating of low (based on the decrease in the two-week incidence rate), and a percent positive rating of medium as the percent of positive tests dropped below 10%. The three ratings combined equal an overall rating of Medium.

Each Monday, Laurens County School District 55 review the threat status (low, medium, or high) for the spread of COVID-19. The district designed its response to help reduce that threat as quickly as possible. If threat levels increase, the district will shift immediately to a more restrictive learning environment. If threat levels decrease, the district will plan to shift to a less restrictive environment at the beginning of the next school week. It is possible that the district will start school on Monday in a less restrictive phase but, based on the DHEC report that comes out each Monday afternoon, make the decision to shift to a more restrictive phase on Tuesday.

District spokesperson, Ed Murray, clarified, “These decisions are based on the threat of spreading the disease and not on the number of actual cases that exist. Therefore, we may have a low number of cases while still being at high risk for the spread of COVID-19. It is the risk of spread that we are trying to reduce and that determines our phase of operations.”