The day after July ends, a new school year begins

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

Ready or not, school bells will start ringing in Darlington County exactly one day after the sweltering month of July gasps its last breath.
The Darlington County School District starts classes Monday, Aug. 1 – an extra-early opening stemming from the district’s adoption of a “modified year-round calendar” with earlier starts, shorter summers and a series of built-in breaks throughout the year. (The calendar can be found on the district’s website.)
This may not be the DCSD’s earliest back-to-school call ever, but it’s the earliest in recent memory, said district spokeswoman Audrey Childers. She said the district has worked hard to make sure the district’s 10,000 students and their parents know about the earlier schedule. “We tried very hard,” Childers said.
The earlier start date has meant that some groups aiding Darlington County students with giveaways of school supplies, book bags, notebooks, pens and the like have had to move faster to get their gifts into students’ hands.
Some grade levels need more supplies than others, but all students will need to be well-stocked for the fall semester. For example, the DCSD’s website recommends these classroom items for incoming first-grade students at St. John’s Elementary in Darlington:

5 plastic pocket folders (yel-
low, green, red, blue,
5 composition notebooks
2 boxes of crayons
2 packs of colored pencils
1 pack of dry-erase markers
1 plastic pencil box
4 glue sticks
1 pair of scissors
2 packs of pencils
Headphones with micro-
2 packs of computer paper
2 packs of tissue
2 containers of Clorox wipes
Roll of paper towels
Box of sandwich bags
Box of quart-size bags

You’ll notice that face masks to help guard against COVID infection are not on the list. Childers said that this year, the school district has no policy on whether or not students mask up. Any student who wishes to is free to wear a mask, she said.
Under the new school calendar approved by the school board, students get a week off in early October, two weeks off in the last half of December, a week off in late February, a week off in April, and school’s over for the 2022-23 year the fourth week in May.
Private schools in the area appear to be sticking with a more traditional middle-of-August start date. For example, Trinity Collegiate School in Darlington County lists Wednesday, Aug. 17, as its first day of school for the fall semester.

Author: Stephan Drew

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