MARCH 14, 2020 UPDATE: STUDENTS TO BE DISMISSED THREE-HOURS EARLY WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, FOR PRECAUTIONARY DISTANT LEARNING & NUTRITION STAFF TRAINING - Currently, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Aiken County and no school closures planned at this time. Please read the following update on our District’s response and precautionary preparations related to coronavirus and be advised that students will be dismissed from school three hours early on Wednesday, March 18. Currently, there are no changes to the dismissal schedule for Thursday, March 19.

As you know, we have heightened precautions related to the spread of COVID-19 by implementing a coronavirus-eliminating disinfectant schedule, encouraging and practicing handwashing and other recommended procedures, postponing all field trips and non-essential professional travel outside of Aiken County, delaying athletic competition and our employee appreciation event, and temporarily suspending all work-based learning in healthcare facilities.

None of these precautionary measures, particularly those that have disappointed and caused concern for our students and their families, have been easily decided, or without thoughtful discussion and collaboration among district and school staff and leadership, as well as state officials.

Please be assured that we are closely monitoring the health of our schools and community, in collaboration with DHEC and the CDC. If a member of a students’ household has traveled in an area of outbreak, has come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, or is diagnosed themselves with coronavirus, families are urged to report this information to their child’s school immediately.

While we have received no directive to close schools or recommendations from the governor or public health officials to do so at this time, as we mentioned last week, we are proactively planning and preparing for distance learning and nutritional services so that we are able to continue educating and ensuring healthy nutrition for the children of our community throughout a school closure, should that ultimately be necessary

In an effort to train and prepare teachers and other staff members for Distance Learning, all students will be dismissed from school three hours early on Wednesday, March 18. We understand that dismissing students three hours earlier than their regular dismissal time will be challenging to our families, but believe that it is necessary to ensure that our teachers and staff members are prepared to transition to Distance Learning and Nutritional Service, should that become necessary in Aiken County.

While again, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in our county and no plans for a school or district-wide closure for our District at this time, families are encouraged to begin considering arrangements for childcare should that action become necessary.

This situation seems to be ever-changing and there is as great deal of uneasiness that uncertainty may cause. What we can promise is transparency in our communication of precautionary measures being considered related to school operations and that Aiken County Schools is committed to the safety and health of our students, teachers and staff, and greater community, as well as our mission of public education.   

Official information and details on our district’s response to coronavirus are available on our website, Should any further precautionary decisions be made, information will be shared promptly on our website and through phone call, email and text message.