Berkeley County School District officials announced earlier this month that three schools within the district have transitioned to a virtual learning platform for two weeks due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the district.
Starting Sept. 7, students attending Berkeley Middle, Cross High and St. Stephen Middle schools began learning from home. All students at the three schools will return to in-person learning on Sept 21. The district noted that all athletic and extracurricular activities at the three schools will be suspended until the same day.
“The decision to transition these three schools to a distance learning platform for the next two weeks was not made lightly,” said BCSD Superintendent Deon Jackson in a press release. “We understand the burden this places on our students, staff and families as our shared goal is to provide quality instruction to our students in our buildings; however, the impact of COVID-19 related reports in these schools necessitated this difficult decision. We look forward to the return of these students on Tuesday, September 21.”
As of Sept. 9, the district reported on its website a total of 81 staff COVID cases, 851 student COVID cases and 3,735 student close contacts.
As of the same day, the district reported Berkeley Middle having six staff COVID cases and 63 student COVID cases. Cross High School had three student COVID cases and no staff COVID cases, and St. Stephen Middle was reported to have no staff cases and four student cases.
The district does not report the number of quarantined staff and students on its website.
During the two week virtual learning period, the district officials say they will continue to provide students at the three schools with breakfast and lunch at no cost. Meals will be available Monday through Friday of both weeks by a drive-through pick up service.
Berkeley Middle, Cross High and St. Stephen Middle students can pick-up breakfast and lunch during the hours of 10 a.m. to noon from Berkeley Middle School, which is located at 320 N. Live Oak Drive in Moncks Corner, Cross High School, which is located at 1293 Old Hwy. 6 in Cross, and St. Stephen Middle School, which is located at 225 Carolina Drive in St. Stephen. No students will be allowed to enter the buildings during that time.
“We need the support and cooperation of our families and communities to ensure that these students return to school healthy and that our remaining schools stay open,” Jackson said in a press release from the district. “Our schools mirror their communities, so we ask that our families and communities follow SC DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) guidelines, maintain physical distancing in group settings, practice good hygiene, limit unnecessary interactions and gatherings, and wear a mask when physical distancing cannot be achieved or is not practical.”
All other BCSD schools will continue to operate in-person following their normal schedules.