Return to Learn Information Center
November 12, 2020 Update
District 7 Middle and High School Hybrid Schedule Parents and Guardians,
Many of you have been asking when our middle and high school students will be able to return to a full five days of in-person learning. We know your family chose to learn in person this year and we have been carefully considering the right time to make this change. We have monitored the COVID cases within our schools, our safety protocols, and how our students are doing with attendance and learning over the first nine-week period. We have also listened to the valuable input of our parents and teachers.
In light of how well our safety protocols have gone thus far, our very low rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the successful return to five days happening in several other local districts, and the need shown by many of our students to return to the classroom full time in order to thrive, we are ready to begin making this shift. Our students are best served when they are in school on a daily basis. We are committed to doing this as safely as possible.
District 7’s middle and high schools will implement a phased-in approach to five days of in-person learning each week. The transition will take place as follows:
- Friday, November 20: All students attend
- Friday, December 4: All students attend
- Friday, December 11: All students attend
- January 5: All students attend daily from this point forward
Bringing both cohorts together on three Fridays will allow schools to make adjustments as needed in order to maximize safety prior to our daily return on January 5.
As I share this plan with you, I am also providing a summary of the information considered as this decision was made:
- Six weeks ago, our elementary schools returned to full time, in-person learning. We have not seen an increase in the rate of confirmed cases within those schools during this time. In fact, looking district-wide since school began on August 17, we have seen an average of only 2.3 student cases per week out of 4,149 students attending in-person. Over the past 12 weeks since school began, there has been a total of 33 student cases and 47 staff cases across District 7. Over the last ten days, we have had 9 student cases and 12 staff cases. Overall, less than one percent (0.8%) of our students have been confirmed as positive for the virus.
- Once all of our in-person students are attending daily, our middle and high schools will have the following total number of students present:
Carver Middle School - 264 (out of 625 enrolled)
E.P. Todd Middle School - 105 (out of 259 enrolled)
McCracken Middle School - 525 (out of 820 enrolled)
Spartanburg High School - 1,200 (out of 2,039 enrolled)
- The above numbers allow for class sizes to remain relatively low, with few exceptions. We are taking steps to physically distance to the fullest extent in every classroom and are looking at individual cases where classes are larger.
- The State Department of Education received an additional $33 million last month for PPE to be used in the classroom, which enabled District 7 to order an additional 4,500 desk partitions for our middle and high schools. These will be in place before the transition in order to provide an additional layer of safety.
- Attendance of our hybrid schedule students this year has been lower than desired at most District 7 middle and high schools (ranging from 85.4 – 95.7%; the desired level is around 94%). Attendance is significantly lower on remote days than in-person days.
- Extensive conversations have taken place among our Board, cabinet, principals, and teacher groups. Combined with surveys from parents and teachers, we have gathered quite a bit of information to help guide decision making.
As a reminder, key safety protocols and procedures remain in place for all of our schools and are more important now than ever. For the full plan, please refer to our Safety Protocols and Procedures webpage. As a general guideline, if your child is not feeling well, please DO NOT send them to school. With cold and flu season upon us, we ask families to act with caution more than ever.
BUS ROUTE TIME CHANGE
Morning pickup times for buses may shift as we begin serving all students daily. Please plan for pickup to be as much as 15 minutes earlier or 15 minutes later than usual as our drivers adjust their routes. After the first few days, bus schedule will become consistent.
WE ARE READY
District 7 is ready to transition to full, five days per week attendance in order to best serve our students and families. We recognize that it is impossible for everyone to agree on the best course of action and to feel the same level of comfort in this situation; and we appreciate the position of each member of our community. We must ALL remain committed to following our safety procedures in order to successfully make this shift. Our students are excited to engage more fully with their teachers and classmates, and we look forward to the many ways they will be inspired and equipped as we move Forward Together this school year!
September 2, 2020 Update
Superintinedent Jeff Stevens has characterized District 7’s transition to operating during a pandemic as an incredible undertaking by all involved. "Our students are adapting; they are learning and growing by facing challenges together with their teachers, peers, and family; and they are becoming more resilient. As always, they are at the heart of everything we do and every decision we make," he said.
Today, the district announced an update on plans to transition the Flexible Learning Models.
Due to the prediction of an increase in COVID-19 cases following the Labor Day holiday, guidance from DHEC over the last few weeks, and feedback on the implementation of safety protocols in our schools, District 7 will undertake a phasing-in approach as we transition our Flexible Learning Models.
The new date for elementary students to begin attending five days a week for in-person instruction is September 28. Unless there is a significant increase in the spread of COVID-19 at the community or school level, District 7 will follow this timeline. A final decision will be announced one week prior, on September 21.
Beginning the week of September 14, elementary/middle/high school hybrid cohorts will alternate attending in person on Fridays. In addition, many middle and high school teachers will begin delivering live instruction via classroom webcams to the cohort learning remotely. This will enable learning to advance at a faster rate. District 7 teachers are once again leading the way with K-12 innovation as they implement this method of delivery from a technological and instructional standpoint. Middle and high school students will need to log on to follow the normal school day schedule on their remote days from September 14 forward. This schedule will continue until further notice.
District 7 Plan to Transition Flexible Learning Models
Mr. Stevens noted, "It is hard to adequately express how much I appreciate this community for the way you are supporting our students, our staff, and one another. We are evolving nearly every aspect of how we work in order to educate during a global pandemic. I could not be prouder of our District 7 family for inspiring and equipping in new ways every day as we move Forward Together!"
July 23, 2020 Update
Spartanburg School District 7 has released its school reentry plan for the 2020-2021 school year. Over the past several weeks, District 7 studied recommendations of the state, along with feedback from parents and staff, as we developed plans for a safe return to learning. Guided by our SC Department of Education, we are presenting two options to enable each family to select the one that best fits their needs: An in-person learning plan and a fully virtual (online) learning plan.The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority. We have taken numerous steps to ensure that every school will operate as safely as possible. Many are outlined within this plan, but our teams continue to seek more avenues to protect and support our students and teachers this year.We realize you might have many questions about this plan. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), which will expand daily as more information becomes available. If your question is not addressed there, please email it to Return2Learn@spart7.org. Regardless of the challenges ahead one thing is abundantly clear: District 7 is resilient, District 7 is united, and District 7 will find a way to inspire and equip. Let’s write a proud chapter in our history as we move FORWARD TOGETHER.
The deadline for enrollment in the District 7 Virtual School isFriday, July 31, 2020. (If you have enrolled and wish to unenroll prior to July 31, please let us know here.)
Families in the district will have two options for their students at the start of the academic year: A traditional in-person school schedule option (which includes a hybrid model where students would attend in-person a few days per week and eLearning other days) and a virtual school schedule option. The in-person option includes safety measures for students and staff, including a mask requirement and social distancing protocols at schools and offices.
For the virtual school schedule option, the district has created its new District 7 Virtual School, which will include live classroom instruction with District 7 teachers, independent work and opportunities for students to participate in after-school extracurricular activities at their school. Transportation arrangements to participate in after-school extracurricular activities is the responsibility of the student or family choosing the virtual school.
The purpose of the plan is to provide information about the plan and the details that parents need to make informed decisions about their child’s educational experience this school year. We hope parents will weigh the benefits and differences between the choices, and we’ve attempted to make each choice a viable one for our families, so that they can choose the best option.
Since schools closed in March, District 7 has planned for the return of students and staff, implementing safety protocols and partnering with agencies, organizations and individuals to create options for the 2020-21 school year. In June, the district shared information about the school reentry plans and the district’s planning process. Several surveys have been provided to staff and parents, including one to parents gauging their interest in virtual options.
On Monday, July 20, the district shared an overview of the Virtual School. Enrollment in the District 7 Virtual School is open for those families who wish to take immediate action. Please note that students in our 3K - 4K programs will follow the flexible learning models as outlined in our full Return to Learn Plan. The deadline for enrollment in the D7 Virtual School is Friday, July 31, 2020.
On Tuesday, July 21, the district presented the entire Return to Learn plan with its school board and on Wednesday morning Superintendent Stevens held a livestream meeting with teachers and staff to share the plan with them. On Thursday, July 23, the district posted the entire Return To Learn plan. Click here for the District 7 Virtual School plan only. A text version of the Virtual School plan is available on our website here where families can click the language translator on the top of our website to read the plan in different languages. A text version of the entire Return To Learn plan will be coming soon.
Spartanburg School District 7 has created an email address for question submissions regarding its 2020-21 school reentry plan. In order to ensure that all questions are received and addressed, please route them to email@example.com. A Frequently Asked Questions section for questions has been developed and will provide additional information for families.