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How new steps fit into Aiken County schools’ COVID strategy

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2021 at 7:00 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Our local school districts working hard every day to keep our kids learning inside the classroom. We’re taking a look at some of the data we’ve collected in Aiken, Columbia and Richmond counties since the start of school.

In the first week, each district saw some kind of increase in positive COVID cases. The second week, the same story. The third week is where we really started to see all three districts drop in cases. But the issue is the quarantines. Those numbers in Aiken County have stayed around 5,000. The district is working to ease the burden on students and parents with a new quarantine option.

It’s a feeling shared by most parents this school year.

“Rough, I guess I could say. Frustrating,” said Lauren Hanna.

Hanna is seeing the impact of the pandemic in her own home. Both of her kids have been in quarantine from school because of COVID. Forcing her to stay home from work.

“It can lead to lost wages, it can lead to losing your job potentially because not all employers are truly sympathetic to this,” she said.

(WRDW)

With more than 4,500 kids in quarantine over the past three weeks, the Aiken County school district is working to get kids back in the classroom.

“We don’t want students falling behind,” said Mike Rosier, director of communication with Aiken County Public Schools.

They’ve added a new quarantine option for parents. It allows students to return to class after eight days with no symptoms and a negative COVID test.

“We understand it’s been a struggle. It’s been real, but having this option to have students come back sooner will hopefully ease the burden on parents and keep students on track in their class time,” he said.

The district says most of its students in quarantine are not the ones testing positive, so getting them back to school is and has been the focus since the start of school.

“We know that face-to-face is the best option for our students and our teachers,” said Rosier. “We want to provide the best possible education that we can to students at home and students in our buildings.”

District leaders say they plan to have early release all next week so that teachers can get that training and practice for teaching those students learning virtually due to quarantine.

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