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We Deserve Transparency Regarding School Attendance Guidance & Recommendations

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As reported by Greenville County Emergency Management, of those tested for Covid-19 statewide on 12/29, 31.2% were positive, and of those tested in Greenville County on 12/29, 46.7% were positive, and yet Dr. Burke Royster, the Superintendent of Greenville County Schools who has sole authority over the current attendance plans of the district, decided that, even though the numbers of positive cases in Greenville County are alarmingly high, schools will be returning to the previously proposed attendance plan, as you can find here: https://greenville.k12.sc.us/ To sum up: elementary schools will be continuing in 100% face-to-face attendance, middle schools will complete their phasing into 100% face-to-face, and high schools will be going to 75% face-to-face in a couple of weeks. 

In a message sent to parents, it was stated that this decision was based on recommendations from public health officials at Prisma, Bon Secours, and DHEC. Here is a piece of what was sent to parents: "Earlier today, District leadership received specific guidance from medical officials at Bon Secours, Prisma, and DHEC. Public health officials believe that a failure to return to school will make the situation worse, because it is clear people have not been following pandemic guidance over the last 10 days. Students and employees who are in school for 7-1/2 hours each day where protocols are implemented and monitored help to mitigate the spread of COVID in our community, as compared to when individuals are free to gather with little to no monitoring." 

Such recommendations do not seem to align with these agencies' other recommendations, e.g. foregoing usual holiday celebrations or to not attend public events. Healthcare professionals are pleading with our community to change behaviors, to do all we can to limit the spread of this virus, yet we are not only continuing forward in current attendance plans for Greenville County Schools but expanding them.

We must push for open transparency regarding these recommendations beyond the simple assertions that these attendance decisions are in fact supported by and/or based on recommendations from public health officials. We need to hear from them directly on why they are asserting it's safer, in regards to Covid, to be in school than to be on an eLearning plan.