January 11, 2022
Missed last week's memos?

All SCDE weekly memo communications are archived here. Individual memos can be found on the School District Memoranda Archive.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has updated its School and Childcare Exclusion List to reflect the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance regarding isolation and quarantine timelines. As a reminder, the School and Childcare Exclusion List is not a guidance document but a requirement governed by state statute that schools and childcares must follow. The most recent (1/8/2021) revisions are listed on pages 3-4 of the document titled School and Childcare Exclusion List linked below.

DHEC has also updated its COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 Schools Booklet to reflect the latest CDC guidance and revised School and Childcare Exclusion List. Please note that DHEC anticipates additional guidance coming from the CDC this week that will be incorporated into the COVID-19 Guidance for K-12 Schools Booklet as needed.

DHEC has also released an at-home attestation form that is linked below.

COVID-19 Cases Associated with Staff and Students
As of January 5, 2022, DHEC has reported the following student and staff quarantines and isolations since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year:

  • 279,084 student quarantines
  • 63,695 student isolations
  • 7,662 staff quarantines
  • 7,798 staff isolations

As has been previously communicated, state law requires that school districts offer full, five day face to face instruction to all students. Flexibility from this requirement and the ability to move to temporary virtual instruction has been provided when necessitated in response to high numbers of positive cases and quarantines amongst students and staff in individual schools and districts. Flexibility cannot be provided to move to virtual instruction preemptively in anticipation of higher cases. If a district moves to temporary virtual instruction preemptively, additional in-person days must be added to the school calendar to satisfy the statutory 180-day requirement.

DHEC has provided guidance as to when schools and districts may consider moving to temporary virtual instruction.

Consideration for a school or grade level temporarily going to virtual learning:

There are currently no data to provide an evidence base for a decision to go to virtual learning at a specific threshold of school cases. However, recognizing school district leadership could potentially benefit from expert recommendations, DHEC medical epidemiologists have developed potential thresholds for consideration, based on their professional judgement.
  • Consideration may be given by a school district for a school (or grade level) to temporarily go virtual in the following scenarios:
  • School is unable to maintain operations with current staffing as determined by the school district,
  • 30% or higher rate of absenteeism in the school or grade level due to COVID-19 (including students in isolation and in quarantine),
  • 5–10% or higher of the student body is in isolation simultaneously after testing positive (or being assumed positive based on symptoms when not tested), or
  • When discussed with and recommended by local medical and public health professionals based on the local healthcare system’s capacity.

If a school (or grade level) temporarily goes to virtual learning for one of the above scenarios, it is recommended that they remain virtual for 7 to 14 days then re-evaluate the situation.

The South Carolina Department of Education asks schools or districts that can no longer safely operate and provide face to face instruction due to staffing shortages resulting from COVID-19 or a similar infectious disease to please complete the form linked below notifying a move to temporary virtual only instruction.

Release of 2020 Census Data for School Year 2022-2023 Title I, Part A Allocations
AUDIENCE: District Superintendents, Title I, Part A Coordinators
CONTACT: Jennifer Rhodes, jrhodes@ed.sc.gov

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide updates regarding allocations under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The U.S. Department of Education (USED) will use the 2020 Census data to calculate school year (SY) 2022–23 allocations under Title I, Part A.

Please find the attached table that shows the 2020 population and poverty estimates for the local educational agencies (LEAs) in South Carolina, which the United States Census Bureau (Census Bureau) released in December 2020. These data are also available at:

2021-22 Leaders Making Readers Literacy Conference
AUDIENCE: District Superintendents, Read to Succeed Coordinators, MTSS Coordinators
CONTACT: Marie Gibbons, mgibbons@ed.sc.gov, Taylor Seale, tseale@ed.sc.gov, Jakki Wiseman, jwiseman@ed.sc.gov

The Office of Early Learning and Literacy (OELL) invites you to attend Leaders Making Readers Literacy Conference on Thursday, February 17, 2022. This conference is intended for district leaders who work with Summer Reading Camps (SRC), literacy instruction and interventions, and Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). This event will be held virtually.

2022 Listening Circles Professional Development Opportunity
AUDIENCE: District Superintendents, Principals, District Instructional Leaders, School Counseling Personnel Directors
CONTACT: Tremekia Priester, tkpriester@ed.sc.gov

The Office of Student Intervention Services will host two virtual sessions of S.C. Listening Circles, a professional development opportunity designed to increase student engagement through empathy and active listening and foster mutual support and understanding among educators and other school staff.

Gang Culture and Trends in Schools: Free Training in Richland and Williamsburg Counties
AUDIENCE: District Superintendents, Principals, District Instructional Leaders, School Counseling Personnel Directors
CONTACT: Kimberly Smith, kwsmith@ed.sc.gov

Due to the overwhelming response, the Office of Student Intervention Services will host three additional sessions of Recognizing and Addressing Gang Culture and Trends in Schools, January 28, and February 4, 2022. Masks and social distancing will be required for all sessions, which will be held onsite.

The training, facilitated by Brian Zwolak, a gang investigator with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and former gang instructor at the SC Criminal Justice Academy, is designed to help administrators, educators, and other staff address the increasing threats that gangs pose to schools. More specifically, Investigator Zwolak will share strategies that participants may use to address the ongoing and evolving violence and social issues associated with gang activity.

South Carolina Department of Education