E-Learning Continues in District 55

Laurens County School District #55 will continue with eLearning this week. The district originally planned to return to face-to-face instruction today, after delaying a return from the winter holiday due to increasing impact of COVID-19 during the holiday. The delay for return to class cites a high percentage of people having positive tests – noted at 30% of all tested.

Superintendent, Dr. Ameca Thomas, said, “After consulting with local officials, the Board of Trustees, district staff, and teachers, we have determined that we must continue on eLearning. The rate of spread of COVID-19 is too high for us to add to the risk of this community.” Rising cases were reported in staff, including a shortage of bus drivers and substitutes.

District 55 noted over 720 new cases have been reported across Laurens County with 107 new cases in one day. That new record high occurred on January 7th.

Superintendent Thomas apologized to parents and student for the late notice, saying they wanted and expected to have students back on campus today, as of close of business Friday. She added, “We appreciate local community leaders reaching out to us and the ongoing discussions with that leadership. We value the opportunity to collaborate and cooperate in the best interests of the broader community, but we will continue our efforts to bring students back on campus as soon as possible.”

District 55’s Student Nutrition Services will continue to provide curbside meal pickup daily at all schools from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. during eLearning. A hot meal will be provided daily along with breakfast for the next morning. All children 18 years of age and younger may get meals at no cost. Parents can pick up meals for multiple students. Students do not have to be present in the car but parents will need to provide the names of students for whom the meals are being picked up.

District 55 will re-evaluate the situation this Thursday to determine plans for the following week. Administration notes that parents, staff and students should make plans for eLearning environments until there is a decline in the number of new cases. They note that the seven-day average for positive cases during the summer reached a peak at 29.71 last July. The most recent seven-day average for positive cases is 59.29 during this month.