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Board Approves Transition to Four-Day, Then Five-Day Instruction

Aiken County Public School District students currently in the Hybrid Model will return to four-day, face-to-face instruction in the month of October, and then to five-day instruction in early November. Students who are enrolled in AIKEN iNNOVATE will have the option to return to face-to-face instruction at the end of the first semester.

The four-day schedule beginning October 12th in elementary schools and continuing in middle and high schools October 26th will be Monday through Thursday, with Friday remaining as a remote learning day through the end of October.

Members of the Aiken County Board of Education approved on Tuesday, October 6th, a return to four-day instruction in elementary schools on Monday, October 12th, followed by a move to four-day instruction in middle schools and high schools on Monday, October 26th. The board also approved a move to five-day instruction at all instructional levels on Wednesday, November 4th.

“I haven’t made any secret about my desire for students to be back in school five days a week as quickly as we can safely do it,” stated Aiken County Superintendent King Laurence. “Both our board and our Back-to-School Advisory Committee have done an excellent job. We are going to still move cautiously and if the numbers start to look negative we will make some different choices. Hopefully, we can move forward, keeping our students safe, keeping our employees safe, and we can meet the needs of our students and families as a school district.”

The board’s discussion Tuesday followed a recommendation by the school district’s Back-to-School Advisory Committee to maintain current operations and not return to a traditional model of five-day instruction at any level. The committee’s recommendation was presented to the board by Aiken County Public Schools’ Executive Director of High Schools and Back-to-School Advisory Committee Chair Bert Postell.

“I’m very thankful to the board and the Back-to-School Advisory Committee,” commented Aiken County Board of Education Chairman Keith Liner. “We had a good discussion and weighed all the options. We know it’s a balancing act between health and safety and student learning and I think it was just time to go back to ensure students do not get further behind.”

Liner says the Back-to-School Advisory Committee will remain intact and continue to provide board members and district administration with week-to-week Covid-19 reporting data.

“I value the work of the committee and what they’ve done in crunching all those numbers and having their discussions, so I still want to have that information because it’s valuable information for us to have and something we will be including in our regular meetings,” stated Liner.

Liner added that a future discussion item for the board would include the development of a District plan should there be a dramatic increase in Covid-19 positive cases.

The Aiken County Board of Education is scheduled to meet again next week on Tuesday, October 13th, for its first regularly scheduled meeting of October.