Aiken school figureheads plan for 2021-2022 in-person classes


AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – The clock is ticking for the last day of school in Aiken County but school leaders are already getting a head start on the next school year.

Schools are going to look similar to what they do now. Many students attending in-person classes while others online. No one at Tuesday’s school board meeting came to the podium to raise a concern for next year’s plan.

“We believe that our schools are safe for students to attend,” said Superintendent King Laurence.

Soon, school board members will vote on the 2021-2022 Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services plan. The plan was formally introduced on Tuesday. The plan fulfills a requirement related to the American Rescue Plan Act.

Laurence said, “If we continue to just be vigilant about our safety measures, knowing that we can’t do everything but knowing there are things that we can do to ensure that we’re maintaining mitigation strategies that we put in place a year ago, some things still make sense.”

The superintendent ensures cleanings of classrooms, hallways, and buses are going to continue next school year.

He explained, “Common spaces, restrooms get cleaned more often during the day. We use spray disinfectants. We have hydrostatic sprayers that we spray classrooms when they’re empty and those kinds of things.”

The school district’s virtual learning option, AIKEN iNNOVATE, is available for students who do not wish to attend class in-person. Laurence remarked the program is not a safety measure just an additional resource and it’s only for sixth through twelfth graders.

“Virtual learning is just not the best approach for younger students. We believe that they need to face-to-face with a teacher in a classroom. They need that for social, emotional learning,” said Laurence.

Aiken schools will adjust their plans for the next school year according to Laurence if progress changes on the fight against COVID-19. But since returning to in-person classes in March, overall morale has increased.

Laurence added, “People genuinely have a positive attitude and feel good about where we’ve been. And what we’ve gone through and where we are right now. And what the future holds for our students, for our schools, for our staff, for our families out there and for our community.”

A special called meeting is scheduled for June 15 at 6:00 p.m at 1000 Brookhaven Dr, Aiken, SC 29803. Board members will vote on the return to in-person plan.

Masks will still be requirement for everybody on a bus.

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