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New semester begins in Beaufort County

A new semester began Monday for Beaufort County Schools, as administrators continued to monitor the county’s rising COVID-19 metrics.

In a voicemail sent to all BCS families, Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman emphasized the importance of following COVID-19 safety protocols and provided an update on the district’s plans for the near future.

“At this time, the district will continue forward with face-to-face learning,” Cheeseman said. “However, based on COVID cases across the county, there may be a time the entire district, or a particular school, may be moved to remote learning status.”

Elementary school students are attending in-person classes four days a week. Middle and high school students are separated into cohorts that alternate between face-to-face and remote learning days. Wednesdays are remote learning days for all grade levels. Families can choose to stick with remote learning if they aren’t comfortable having their students return to traditional classes.

“If your student is scheduled for face-to-face learning, but prefers remote learning at this time, please contact your school principal or counselor directly,” Cheeseman said in the voicemail.

The district logs positive cases of COVID-19 among students and staff members on its website. That data goes back to Oct. 12.  The district had recorded 61 cases of COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon. John Small Elementary School had recorded nine cases, the highest total in a group that includes 14 schools and the BCS central services building.

Beaufort County’s daily COVID-19 case counts hit record highs last week; a spike Beaufort County Health Director Jim Madson said might’ve been fueled by holiday gatherings. On Saturday, the county recorded 112 new cases of COVID-19 — the first time its daily case count has ever broken the century mark.

“The Beaufort County Health Department and Beaufort County Schools will continue to monitor the COVID cases on a daily basis,” Cheeseman said.