Latta School District Staff Planning For Reopening Of School

The Latta School District staff has been planning diligently all summer for reopening of school this fall. It was never our intention not to reopen as soon and as safely as we could. We are prepared to reopen school one of three ways: 100% virtual, 100% traditional face to face or a combined hybrid of virtual and face to face. Each of these ways has its own unique challenges that we are still preparing.
The final decision of how to open will be approved by the Dillon County Board of Education at its August 18 meeting. Such a decision will be based on the latest and best health statistics and information of the COVID-19 conditions in Dillon County provided by SC DHEC and the CDC. The health and welfare of our students and staff will be of paramount concern and the main driving force in this decision. We all want and need to have school back in session, but we also need to reopen in the most safe and practical way.
We are most thankful that our local Trustees, the vast majority of our staff and the Dillon County Board of Trustees recommended and approved a delayed start for the reopening of school. The original date of August 17 to open schools was moved to September 8. This allows us much more valuable time to finish plans for reopening schools and additional time for technology equipment, PPE supplies, etc. to arrive in our district. As everyone knows there is a high demand and continued supply shortage for much needed supplies and equipment for us to reopen schools safely within the CDC and SC DHEC guidelines.
We will soon do a survey with our parents to gauge their interest in returning to school at all, a choice of virtual, if they can transport and not use a bus, etc. This information will be considered as we decide how to open. All parents will also be contacted with the new safety guidelines we will be using when we open. Each of our schools has developed safety protocol guidelines to fit their unique school needs. Again each of our school staffs has done and will continue to do the best job possible in planning and preparing to ensure all students and staff members can return to a safe and healthy learning environment. We will be able to adjust to any of the three options of reopening school very quickly. So if the virus abates substantially from where it is now in late August we can adjust away from a 100% virtual model. And if the virus is still growing and spreading in late August we can adjust to a virtual plan. Our ultimate goal is to finally return to a traditional face to face school environment.
We will give our parents as much lead time as possible to make any adjustment. But at this time our advice is for our parents to plan for the worst case scenario which will cause us to reopen virtually which would present issues for daycare and employment concerns for parents. We absolutely do understand the economic impact, day care issues, student social and welfare needs and stress on families at this time. Most of our staff members are parents with children and face these same issues and uncertainties as our community does. So we all have sympathy regarding these issue. And in planning by these staff members of how to reopen our schools, that is a constant concern. But again the safety and health issues are the main concern in making the decision of how to reopen the schools.
So we implore everyone in our community to follow the CDC and SC DHEC safety guidelines every day in order to stem the rising tide of COVID-19 infection, spread and deaths. Our schools will only be the safest when and if the community does its duty to practice safe measures to eradicate this health threat we are continuing to face. We do not need any more of our staff member family to die from this disease and we certainly do not need any of our student family to succumb to this illness.
We are thankful that our community supports our schools and staff and appreciate their patience as we plan to reopen school. We are being thorough and methodical in our approach to reopening school in hopes that this crisis will finally decline and be eradicated.