FSD1 superintendent holds Facebook live to answer questions, discuss back-to-school plan

FSD1 superintendent explains reopening plan, virtual academy

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Florence School District One Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley held a Facebook live to answer some of the frequently asked questions by parents and dove deeper into the district’s back to school plan.

O’Malley went through and explained the FSD1 back-to-school playbook, as close to 1,000 people tuned into the district’s Facebook live.

He talked about the hybrid learning option and explained there won’t be instruction on the days that students aren’t in the classroom. O’Malley said on the off days, students will receive assignments from their teachers.

O’Malley said nearly 4,800 students have been enrolled in the district’s virtual academy and the last day to sign up for this model is Aug. 10.

Due to running out of staff, O’Malley said they’re still trying to figure out the virtual model for third through sixth graders and ninth and tenth graders, and it’s possible they may have to be in self-paced courses.

“I know this puts parents in a position of, ‘Well my child may be in fifth grade, and I don’t know.’ I would say to you if you’re making it for a health reason you know the answer. If you’re making it for an educational reason I’d take a look at some of the other options being provided,” said O’Malley.

O’Malley wanted to make clear, a COVID-19 test wouldn’t be required for students and staff prior to returning to school, however, there are precautions in place for if a student or teacher tests positive for the virus.

The superintendent said by DHEC guidance, students and staff must make the district aware if they test positive for COVID-19. He said the district will maintain confidentiality, but they need to know of any positive cases.

If a student or staff member experiences symptoms, they won’t be allowed back into school until they receive a negative test or have a note from a doctor indicating they had another illness.

O’Malley said they’re using DHEC’s guidance on quarantine procedures as well, which states close contact is defined by spending at least 15 minutes within a six-foot distance of an infected person.

“So if you’re in a school, we are not by our definition of social distancing, within six feet and we’re normally not spending time more than 15 minutes with that person. That’s important, that’s from DHEC, and that is what we’re using right now. Obviously that will change probably as we move forward and as schools start,” said O’Malley.

O’Malley said they’ll continue holding Facebook lives every week to provide updates and answer questions. They’ll also continue releasing videos showing the precautions and protocols being implemented in their schools.

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