Managing COVID-19 as an Endemic

Last week, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) updated its guidance regarding how schools should respond to COVID-19.  The guidance is similar, but not identical, to our pre-COVID-19 guidance for influenza (Flu). 

Based on our current data, all ECSD schools meet the criteria required by DHEC. We can, therefore, transition to the new procedures to suspend Test to Stay or quarantine beginning tomorrow, March 1, 2022.

Below are highlights from the updated DHEC guidance:

  • Updated guidance applies to individual schools, not entire school districts.
  • While Test to Stay and/or quarantine has been suspended, contact tracing, testing and masking of close contacts without symptoms is no longer required.
  • Schools will continue to report the number of cases to DHEC on a weekly basis.
  • If a school rises above 10% for two consecutive weeks, that school must reinstate the Test to Stay and quarantining procedures until the numbers lower for two consecutive weeks.
  • Isolation requirements for those who have COVID-19 or who are symptomatic will remain unchanged. Individuals who test positive or have symptoms of COVID-19 will have to quarantine.

As a result of this newest DHEC guidance, we are transitioning from quarantining to learning, working and living with COVID-19. Every two weeks, we will reassess all schools. If a school rises above 10%, that school must reinstate the Test to Stay and quarantining procedures until the numbers lower for two consecutive weeks. In that case, families and staff at the school will be notified of the change.  

Additionally, effective immediately, the South Carolina Department of Education will no longer require the use of masks by students and staff on state owned and operated school buses. As is the case with school facilities, school districts have discretion to require masks on school buses in line with CDC and South Carolina DHEC guidance. 

We are hopeful that these latest DHEC updates are another step towards normalcy for our schools and students. We encourage families to continue making healthy choices. Please visit scdhec.gov/COVID19 for more information.


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