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For over 30 years, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics has been dedicated to creating a safe, supportive, and academically immersive environment for our students. The current healthcare crisis has created unique challenges for all schools, especially residential schools. We will continue to follow CDC and DHEC regulations to allow for an unhindered learning experience our students deserve. As the first residency ends and our students leave for Spring Break, here are some highlights from our Return to Residency Plan in action.
Each time someone enters the building, we require four things: their mask, contact tracing tag, temperature, and REACH survey. Students must wear their masks at almost all times, aside from special occasions. Contact tracing tags register when students and staff are within 6 feet of one another. We alert any individual whenever they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID. We have also placed infrared thermometers at every entrance and have given them to each student. The REACH survey is a daily wellness assessment that encourages our students to monitor their symptoms. Depending on the results, they are either approved to enter or told to visit health services.
Our cafeteria tables have been outfitted with crossed plexiglass as well. This allows for meals to be one of the few occasions we allow our students not to wear masks. After they leave, the tables and chairs are thoroughly cleaned. In fact, all collaborative spaces are cleaned regularly by our newly hired custodial staff.
Classrooms have been revamped to fit the needs of both residential and in-person students. All tables in our classrooms are six feet apart. Students joining us over Zoom are displayed on a TV screen at the front of the class and interact with others just as much as those present in person. Upon leaving, everyone wipes down their workstations.
On their first residential week in January, we tested every student for COVID-19 in collaboration with Carolina Pines Health Center. Ever since. we have continued to test one-third of the student body with random surveillance testing. All students found positive are immediately re-tested. If still found positive, they and everyone they have interacted closely with is sent home for two weeks to quarantine. We publish anonymous results from these tests weekly on our website.
To the parents of current students, we are honored you chose to place your child under our care. We do not take that trust lightly. We will continue to institute the proper safety measures and keep you updated throughout the next residency period.