Decision Maker Response

Dr. Burke Royster’s response

Dr. Burke Royster
Superintendent of GCS Schools

Jan 4, 2021 — Throughout this Pandemic and especially once planning began for a return to in-person learning, Greenville County Schools has been in regular contact with medical representatives from DHEC, Prisma Health, and Bon Secours, seeking guidance and expertise regarding the protocols we have adopted to ensure the health and safety of students and staff and our plans to increase in-person attendance. Though only DHEC has the statutory authority to close schools, we have continued to seek input from experts who live and work in our community each time we have made a decision about revising or increasing in-person instruction, including last Thursday, December 31, when we affirmed our plans to return to school on January 4. Based on the many protocols GCS has in place to help mitigate the spread of COVID, none of these entities have at this time, or any time, recommended that we step back from our current or proposed operating mode.

Dr. Brannon Traxler, Interim Director of Public Health is our primary contact at SC DHEC. Because the local health systems have served only as consultants without any authority to open or close schools, and since our contacts at Bon Secours and Prisma Health have made it clear to us they are representing the expertise of their respective systems and not just individual opinions, we will refer back to those systems any requests for individual names.