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BCSD announces in-person graduation schedule and guidelines
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The Berkeley County School District will host in-person graduation ceremonies in June. The district adjusted the graduation schedule in order to provide a meaningful experience to all graduating seniors.

Guidelines will be in place to ensure the safety of all those who attend the ceremony. 

Graduates will be placed several feet apart in order to maintain social distancing. Each graduate will receive four tickets to give to attendees 4 years of age and older. Attendees under three will be allowed enter the ceremony with no ticket, but seating will be measured to accompany ticket holders.

Seating will be measured out and those in attendance will have designated and pre-marked seating areas. No more than 4 ticketed individuals will be allowed to sit in a designated area. They will need to remain in those areas before during and after the ceremony, no one other than graduates and school staff will be allowed on the field.

At the conclusion of the ceremony students will be dismissed by sections in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and attendees should exit ceremony and are encourage to go directly to their cars.

"We appreciate the response of our seniors and their parents to our graduation ceremony survey," said BCSD Superintendent Eddie Ingram. "The feedback provided helped guide the decision to host in-person graduation ceremonies on our school campuses. The graduation ceremony experience may be different from years past; however, we are committed to ensuring that it is memorable for our seniors and their parents in light of necessary restrictions. We look forward to seeing and celebrating the BCSD Class of 2020."

The ceremonies will also be live streamed on various platforms and in the event of inclement weather they will be rescheduled.

The 2020 Graduation Schedule:

June 17, 2020

Berkeley High School at 9 a.m.

Bonner Stadium

Hanahan High School at 9 a.m.

Wiley Knight Stadium

June 18, 2020

Cane Bay High School at 9 a.m.

Cane Bay Stadium

Philip Simmons High School at 9 a.m.

Philip Simmons Stadium

Berkeley Middle College High School at 7 p.m.

Berkeley High School Auditorium

June 19, 2020

Stratford High School at 9 a.m.

W.L. Bonds Stadium

Timberland High School at 9 a.m.

Timberland Stadium

June 20 2020

Goose Creek High School at 9 a.m.

Charles B. Gibson Stadium

Cross High School at 9:00 a.m.

A.E. Ravenell Stadium

Finding facts during uncertain times
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When it comes to COVID-19, information comes as fast and furious as its spread. But how does one make sure the information they are getting, is actual fact?

There are some tips on making sure the news, on the virus, the spread or the politics in it all, really happened and it starts with the news consumer.

From the incessant ticker at the bottom of the screen on cable news channels to the news feeds on social media, information is everywhere, but—a word-of-caution.

“It has become much easier to become duped,” said Dr. Jason Peterson, Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Mass Communications and Journalism at Charleston Southern University. “The truth is the internet is both a blessing and a curse. The last bastion of truly free expression and at the same time, for every reputable source of information out there, there are four or five that are completely fictional.”

Now more than ever more people are using social media platforms to get their news and people are, for the most part, free to post whatever they like whether it’s true or not.

“You look at a post, be it on social media or something of the sort and you have to practice a level caution, does it seem logical does it seem to make sense? There are simple things you can do to sort of confirm or deny the source of information,” he said.

To be an informed consumer of information, in a world of social media clutter and cable news pundits and talking heads, Peterson said you have to always be a responsible skeptic. The more work you put in, the better off you’ll be.

“If you put in the due diligence and go to multiple organizations if you see something off base, go to other organizations to see if they have it, don’t immediately accept it. Skepticism can be bad but it can also be good and I think you have to be a little skeptical today.”

The best practice may be to always ask yourself, who said it and where did that information come from, can the publisher or author be contacted and who is quoted?

“To me the bottom line is if you can put a name on it, you can put in the leg work to find out how reputable that individual is,” he said. “If you see something that has a bunch of information and little attribution, little to no names of sources, immediately, you should have a problem with that.”

Peterson also wants to remind news consumers to be aware of odd looking URLs (web addresses) and look for the top-level-domain (TLD) portion of the address like, (.com, .net, .gov, .org). Be wary and do extra research of top-level-domains that have just two letters because many times those are from foreign countries.

Although despite your best efforts misinformation will continue to flood the airwaves and the newsfeeds. Today, now more than ever, it’s about doing better research.

“It’s not going to stop being there, you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube,” Peterson said. “We need to be smarter about how we consume the information.”

Lowcountry churches resume in-person gatherings
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Some churches in the Lowcountry are reopening the doors to their sanctuary after closing them to the public in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Worshipers who decide to return to the physical building for church services can expect some changes. Chairs may be spaced out to accommodate for social distancing; many people will wear masks; there might be contactless entry and exit of the building.

For the safety of its members, many churches will continue live-streaming services for those who wish to participate from their own homes.

The timeline for transitioning to in-person gatherings has varied between individual churches and different denominations.

For United Methodist Churches in South Carolina, Bishop L. Jonathan Holston said worship and other in‐person gatherings are allowed to resume beginning June 14. Individual churches throughout the state are encouraged to follow guidelines for reopening that were set by church leaders.

“Even when the church doors are once again open and we can safely gather, this does not mean a return to business as usual,” Holston said. “It is critical to recognize the importance of the safe and sanitary practices necessary once we return to church buildings.”

Holston said churches may choose to delay reopening to a later date, depending on their own context.

“We embrace this opportunity to be a beacon of hope in a hurting world,” he said.

Bethany UMC, one of the larger United Methodist Churches in Summerville, announced Sunday that it will resume in-person worship services on June 21.

Summerville Baptist Church opened in-person worship on Sunday and asked its congregation to register online prior to attending in-person. The church offered three identical worship services and practiced social distancing on-site. Sunday school classes will continue virtually, according to church staff members.

Freedom Church in Moncks Corner will resume in-person worship and open their doors to the public on June 7. According to a news release from the church, the decision was announced following a virtual meeting of local pastors with public health experts representing the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) and state elected officials, including the Governor’s Office.

“We hope the collaborative work of our local pastors and elected officials will provide the support and guidance our area churches can use to assist them in making decisions that are best for their congregations,” said Freedom Church Lead Pastor Shawn Wood.

Local churches included in the collaborative effort include Abiding Word Family Ministries, Awaken Church, Faith Church, Freedom Church, Journey Church, New Vision Cathedral, Northwood Church, Pointe North Church, Reality Church, Seacoast Church, Summerbrook Church and Summerville Baptist Church.

CSU announces COVID-19 student relief programs
  • Updated

Charleston Southern University announced on May 13th that it would provide residential and commuter students with financial assistance to help them with the impact of the coronavirus

Firstly CSU will distribute funds that were given to the school by the federal government through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) ACT. The CARES Act gave money to the university in order to assist students who have experienced financial hardship due to the coronavirus. The funds are given to assist with eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare.

The university announced that the funds will be distributed in two phases. The first phase all Pell-eligible students who were not fully online prior to the pandemic will receive an automatic grant in the future.

The second phase will include a grant application process for students who did not receive sufficient funding to cover eligible expenses through phase one. The application process will begin after the first phase is complete.

Secondly, CSU will given a prorated credit to currently registered residential students for the 2020 spring semester. The amount of the prorated credit will be calculated based on the actual food service cost from the date the student left campus. The amount of the rebate will vary based on the amount of financial aid received to cover room and board charges.

CSU will also offer a partial room rebate to residential students for the 2020 spring semester. The amount of the rebate will be based on a variety of factors including financial aid awards and other factors. The room rebates will be adjusted onto individual student accounts in the upcoming future, and graduates will receive a refund check.

CSU also established a COVID-19 Student Emergency Care Fund which will be used for students who demonstrate financial needs for food, housing, medicine, travel, education-related expenses, including scholarship support and other needs the Student Care Committee deems appropriate.

Representatives from the school will evaluate the needs of the students and give aid accordingly.

This fund was created through the generosity of donors and are not the same as federally funded CARE grants.