Laurens County School District 56 announced Friday that in-classroom students at Clinton Middle School and Clinton High School are returning to e-learning through the Thanksgiving break due to a higher number of COVID-19 related quarantines as pandemic numbers across the state and country have spiked over the past couple of weeks.
Classrooms are set to reopen on Monday, Nov. 30 at those two schools. Face-to-face instruction at other District 56 schools – M.S. Bailey, Clinton Elementary, Eastside Elementary and Joanna-Woodson Elementary – will continue with no changes, district officials said in a release.
“The number of quarantine cases, not actual confirmed COVID-19 cases, are very high,” the District 56 release read. “A smaller number of actual cases have had a very large ripple effect at both schools, especially in certain classes and after school activities.”
Students participating in the Laurens County Virtual Academy this semester will also continue on as normal.
“It is our hope the number of these quarantine cases and especially actual positive cases, will decrease during this time,” the release read. “We can and will make this happen but it will take all of us working together to get a handle on this uptick in cases and quarantines.”
The temporary in-person classroom closures at CHS and Clinton Middle School comes a week after the Clinton branch of the Laurens County Library was closed indefinitely after a confirmed positive case was reported.
Countywide, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control reported seven new cases Tuesday following a spike in cases that included 18 new positive cases Monday and 28 on Friday, Nov. 13. The 2,233 confirmed cases in Laurens County is an increase of 134 cases over a week earlier. Five additional deaths have also been reported in the county since the beginning of November, bringing the total of deceased due to the novel coronavirus in the county to 67.
Across the state, 1,088 new cases were confirmed by DHEC Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 186,528 with 3,884 deaths.
DHEC officials have urged the state’s citizens to help stem the “second wave” of the coronavirus by wearing masks, getting routine testing and limiting social contacts. According to reports, ICU bed capacity in the state is at 76.5%
“As we approach the holiday season and COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations spike across South Carolina and the nation, DHEC, the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) and Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) urge all South Carolinians to rededicate themselves to individual actions to protect public health amid this pandemic,” a DHEC release read. “We recognize that the holiday season is a sacred time, and we encourage South Carolinians to avoid indoor gatherings and maintain their commitment to activities that reduce the spread of COVID-19.”