COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols
In Spartanburg School District Seven, we know the best place for students is in the classroom with their teachers and their peers; however, our first priority is to keep everyone safe. These protocols have been developed to enable learning to continue in the safest possible environment.
The district is committed to continuing the following procedures in the 2021-2022 school year, in order to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, and entire District Seven community:
- With regard to COVID-19, Spartanburg District Seven will continue to work alongside local and state health officials, while also following guidelines and recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), and South Carolina Department of Education to the fullest extent feasible. County, State, and Federal guidelines regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and safety protocols will continue to be shared with our educators, parents, and administrators as the recommendations change.
- Spartanburg District Seven school buildings and facilities will be maintained to the highest standard, which includes routine cleaning throughout the day and evening. Hand washing and sanitizing stations will be properly stocked and signage encouraging physical distancing and general safety practices will remain in place.
- Spartanburg District Seven staff, to include custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and nurses will follow all cleaning protocols according to CDC and DHEC guidelines.
- In coordination with DHEC, Spartanburg District Seven will continue its contact tracing process, monitor infection rates and any potential spread of COVID-19 in our schools or facilities, and adjust procedures and practices as necessary. District 7 will follow CDC and DHEC guidelines for quarantines and exclusions.
COVID-19 Safety Practices
Universal and correct wearing of masks
In compliance with the executive order by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and guidance from the South Carolina Department of Education that masks are not to be required in South Carolina schools, masks will be optional for students, staff, and visitors to Spartanburg District Seven for the 2021-2022 school year. The district will continue to monitor this practice, along with infection rates, and will adjust as necessary.
Mask requirement for qualified students and quarantine requirements
On October 12, District 7 Board of Trustees approved to require masks in individual classrooms or schools as needed in response to instances of COVID-19 outbreak, and to implement mask requirements and other COVID-19 safety protocols needed as accommodations for qualified students under ADA Title II and Section 504. The Board’s vote allows the district to protect students and staff while avoiding thousands of missed school days due to entire classrooms being sent home (or “excluded”) when there are three or more cases within a 14-day time period. Starting Monday, October 18, students and staff in classrooms that have reached a three-case limit of COVID-19 cases may continue to attend school but will be required to wear mask at school during the 14 days they would have been excluded. Students will not be able to participate in close contact activities such as athletics during this time frame. If a parent chooses not to have their student wear a mask, the student will be sent home for this 14-day period. District 7 consulted with SCDHEC during this decision-making process.
The second change comes from new guidance released by SCDHEC regarding quarantine requirements for students who wear a mask. Now, a student who is wearing a mask AND is 3 feet or farther from an infected person is NOT required to quarantine, regardless of whether the infected person is wearing a mask. This change will also prevent many missed days of school for our students this year, and it gives control to the parent and student based on their choice to wear a mask.
Modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing (e.g., use of cohorts/podding)
Spartanburg District Seven Schools will continue to follow physical distancing guidance from DHEC and the CDC to the extent feasible for the 2021-2022 school year. The district will encourage teachers and staff to distance students when appropriate, but will not require the use of cohorts or "family classrooms" in the classroom. Based on the latest CDC guidance removing recommendations for plexiglass as a prevention tool, all plexiglass has also been removed from classrooms and our schools will not utilize this tool. District Seven's plan will include the following:
- Post signs on building entrances to encourage physical distancing and general safety practices
- Continue use of floor markers to remind students to social distance
- Separate desks as much as possible within classrooms
- Allow parent and community volunteers on campus during the school day in a reduced capacity
- Seek to return to normal lunch schedules (with final decision to be made in early August)
Physical distancing practices to the extent feasible are a personal responsibility of each individual attending school or coming to a District Seven facility.
Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
In accordance with guidance from the CDC and DHEC, Spartanburg District Seven will continue to promote proper hand washing and respiratory etiquette on our campuses to ensure the health and safety of students, staff, and visitors. In addition, the following procedures will remain in effect:
- Continue hand washing protocols established in the 2020-2021 school year
- Continue to encourage physical distancing for students and adults to the extent feasible
- Provide hand sanitizer stations throughout schools
- Provide hand sanitizer as needed in regular classrooms, front office areas, and regularly used spaces
District 7 is monitoring the toxic hand sanitizer list and making sure that all of our products - hand sanitizer, disinfectant sprays, cleaning solutions, and soaps - are safe.
Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation
In Spartanburg District Seven, the maintenance of clean, healthy facilities is a top priority, as we always aim to protect our students and staff. To ensure we continue to maintain our facilities to the highest standard, while also taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and/or other illnesses, the district commits to the following procedures:
- Install bi-polar ionization units, which help reduce airborne pathogens, on HVAC units in all schools
- Continue to provide additional hand sanitizer for student and teacher use in classrooms
- Continue to provide disinfectant spray or wipes for use as appropriate in classrooms during the school day
- Continue routine cleaning protocols throughout the day and evening as implemented in the 2020-2021 school year
- Continue to follow federal guidelines for school bus cleaning
District Seven custodial employees have been trained on COVID-19 safety protocols.
Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine
In the 2021-2022 school year, Spartanburg School District Seven will continue to follow DHEC and CDC guidance in regard to contact tracing, the reporting of COVID-19 cases, isolation and quarantine procedures for students and staff members. In addition, the district will closely monitor infection rates and any trends in respect to specific schools or buildings. On October 12, District 7 Board of Trustees approved new quarantine requirements for students who wear a mask. A student who is wearing a mask AND is 3 feet or farther from an infected person is NOT required to quarantine, regardless of whether the infected person is wearing a mask. This change will also prevent many missed days of school for our students this year, and it gives control to the parent and student based on their choice to wear a mask.
Diagnostic and screening testing
Given the readily available testing in our community, Spartanburg School District Seven does not directly administer COVID-19 testing.
Efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff, and students, if eligible
Spartanburg School District Seven will continue to provide educational resources to staff and families about the COVID-19 vaccine. As much as possible, the district will continue to coordinate with Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS), and other local providers, to help District Seven community members who wish to be vaccinated to receive the vaccine.
Appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies and practices
In the 2021-2022 school year, students with disabilities will continue to have their needs met, as indicated by their individual education plans (IEPs) or section 504 plan. Any additional accommodations required will be discussed between parents and District Seven Special Services staff and implemented accordingly. The district's multi-tiered systems of support will provide high quality intervention tailored to each student's specific academic needs. On October 12, District 7 Board of Trustees approved to require masks in individual classrooms or schools as needed in response to instances of COVID-19 outbreak, and to implement mask requirements and other COVID-19 safety protocols needed as accommodations for qualified students under ADA Title II and Section 504.
Coordination with state and local health officials
Spartanburg School District Seven has a longstanding cooperative relationship with local and state health officials, including Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and SCDHEC, to ensure the district continues to follow the best health and safety practices for our students and staff. In regard to COVID-19, District Seven will continue working with SCDHEC during the 2021-2022 school year to conduct contact tracing. As was done in the 2020-2021 school year, District Seven will continue to report positive COVID-19 cases, and close contacts who need to be quarantined, to DHEC.
Please know District 7 schools will continue to ensure that the physical, emotional, and mental safety of all students and staff remains a priority. We are continually working to ensure we have exhausted all possible safety precautions that may need to be taken.
Health Pre-Screening for Staff & Students
Students and staff should self-screen daily before arriving at school (parents/guardians should conduct the screening of students). Anyone with a fever of 100 or higher should not come to school or a D7 facility.
Bus Transportation Protocols
Masks are required on school buses
Face coverings will be required on school buses beginning Monday, Aug. 30. The State Department of Education announced they will enforce the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's order for requiring face coverings on school buses. You can read more in this memo from the SDE.
The Department of Education’s COVID-19 Handbook provides additional guidance concerning transportaion safety.
- Bus drivers have been trained in COVID-19 safety protocols.
- Bus riders will be encouraged to sit apart from one another and will be required to sit facing the front of the bus and keep their hands to themselves.
- When possible, bus windows should be opened to allow outside air to circulate in the bus.
- Hand sanitizer will be available on all buses and are to be used by students when exiting the bus.