FORT MILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – School’s out again, at least for one school in our community, not two weeks after doors opened, Forest Creek Middle School is going virtual for 14 days. District leaders say it’s due to a rise in COVID-19 positive cases that have shown the presence of community spread within Forest Creek, the last school dashboard shows more than 30 positive students or staff and more than a hundred students in quarantine.
Now, all Forest Creek students will return to a virtual model tomorrow, Thursday, August 26. All this coming after the Fort Mill School Board making a decision on mandating masks in schools at this Tuesday night’s board meeting.
Fort Mill Superintendent Dr. Chuck Epps saying, the district is not currently in a position to go against the Governor’s orders that prohibit school districts from making mask mandates and threaten state funding as a penalty.
District leaders saying they will however enact COVID guidelines and procedures as of this Tuesday including, strongly encouraging mask wearing, elementary students having meals in classrooms, suspend class interaction recess, suspend out of district academic field trips, and continuing social distancing. they will also no longer allow visitors, and are cancelling large open-house type of events. Finally, all sporting events will follow guidelines set by the South Carolina High School League. Parents coming out making their voices heard in favor of and against mandating masks in schools.
One parent, Joanne Walker, saying, “So, if we can get ahead of this like we should’ve done last year by vaccinating, by masking, by taking care of one another then we won’t be in this position anymore and we don’t have to stand out here with signs. We can go back to just going to sporting events and fighting over our school sports instead of important things like whether my child is going to die because they went to school.”
Another parent and member of “Moms of Liberty”, Jackie Terribile, says, “Yeah I just want the children to have as much of a normal experience as possible. The last 18 months have taken away so much from them as far as having a normal education and a normal life and we just want things to go back to normal, we want parents to have a chance to determine how that looks for their child and for the school board to support us in that decision.”
The new guidelines will go into effect Monday morning district wide. In Fort Mill with one school already heading to virtual learning we wanted to find out what it takes for that decision to be made about virtual learning.
Benchmarks dictate that an entire class will go virtual if 20% of the class or 3 students test positive. An entire grade will go virtual if 10% is positive and that’s the same rate that would close down an entire school.