DCSD says 25% of students out
By Bobby Bryant, Editor
As of last week, COVID was keeping nearly 25 percent of Darlington County’s public-school students at home, Education Superintendent Tim Newman told the county school board.
During a Jan. 24 work session, Newman said that, as of Jan. 20 – the day before the school district closed briefly for an incoming winter storm – nearly a quarter of the district’s students were out, either because they’d tested positive for the virus or because they were quarantined. (The majority were quarantined.)
Newman said there was some positive news. He said that the COVID statistics he’d received by the end of the day Jan. 24 “were some of the lowest numbers I have seen in the past couple of weeks. I hope that’s a trend that continues.”
“We are still working through it,” Newman said of the pandemic. He praised all the school district’s employees – teachers, administrators, support staff – for doing “an incredible job” during this ongoing crisis.
Newman said the district is providing all employees with KN95 face masks, a type that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is leaning toward recommending over the cloth masks that federal officials have recommended during most of the pandemic. The KN95s, or N95s, are sturdier and offer “better filtration,” some officials say.
The school district is providing students with “three-ply surgical masks” if they want to use a face mask, Newman said. It’s not mandatory. These masks are intended for one use per day.
Newman told the board that the district’s priority in this crisis is the welfare of its students. “We have to put our kids first,” he said. “That is why we are here. I’m concerned about the 25 percent that aren’t here, but I’m more concerned about the 75 percent that are here.”
“We’re doing everything we can to help give them some instruction and to give them some stability and consistency, as much as we can,” he said.