Frequently Asked Questions - In-Person Instruction




Students and staff should stay home from school if they have: 

Any one (1) of the following

  • Fever – or
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing -or - 
  • Loss of taste or smell -or – 
  • New or worsening cough 


Any two (2) of the following: 

  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or body aches 
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea or vomiting 


Note: Any child with any one of these symptoms should consider not attending school regardless of meeting exclusion criteria. If these symptoms are explainable by an underlying condition (such as shortness of breath or cough for an individual with asthma) exclusion may not be necessary. 


What cleaning and safety precautions are being put into place?

The safety and security of our students and staff will be the highest priority when we return to school. We are following the guidelines put forth by DHEC and the CDC. We have implemented intensive cleaning and disinfection measures. These include (but are not limited to) daily sanitizing of high touch areas (doorknobs, handles, etc.) and cleaning restrooms frequently throughout the day. The district will also utilize sprayers and other cleaning equipment and resources as needed.


Other safety measures the district and schools will observe:

  • Masks will be required of staff and students
  • Students and staff will maintain proper social distancing
  • Desks will be adequately spaced
  • No visitors will be permitted beyond the front office
  • Students will be taught and reminded of proper handwashing. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building.
  • Sharing of items that are difficult to clean or disinfect will be discouraged.
  • Seating/desks will be spaced at least 6 feet apart when feasible.
  • Desks will be face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or students will sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart.
  • Schools will provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure social distancing and create a safe traffic flow.


Currently, routine temperature taking of students and/or staff is not a recommendation from the CDC. If children become sick once at school, we will take appropriate steps to isolate them until their parents can pick them up.


Will masks be required?

Masks will be required for in-person school for both adults and students in grades 3-12. Everyone must wear a mask in all situations when proper social distancing of at least six feet apart cannot be met. This includes walking in hallways, bathrooms, and even moving around a classroom. If and when a student is seated and properly socially distanced, the mask will not have to be worn. We ask that families please help us in reminding their children that masks will be required. Discipline for not wearing a mask will be handled at the school level, but could result in a child being removed from a classroom.


What happens if someone gets sick?

Current DHEC and CDC guidelines require that if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19, that person should be removed from the classroom and school for quarantine. Routinely using the safety precautions, specifically social distancing and masks, will help avoid the need to quarantine all classroom contacts of persons with COVID-19. The Darlington County School District will follow CDC guidelines regarding quarantining of students and staff  (DHEC: Interim COVID-19 guidance for schools: Management of suspect and confirmed COVID-19 cases).


If a student tests positive and must quarantine, that student will be able to keep up with his or her class through distance learning options.  


Will the attendance policies change?

If a student or an adult feels sick, they should not come to school. We recognize that the State Department's current school absence policies are not appropriate for the current situation. The State Department is reviewing their policies. We are monitoring the progress of any potential revised absence policy and will distribute that information in the future.


How will transportation operate?

Buses will sanitized daily. Masks will be required. Current guidelines limit us to 46% of capacity on our buses. This will allow us to ensure adequate distancing between students. Because of the capacity restraints, we are going to have to run more routes. We also will have to stagger the times of those routes so your pickup and dropoff times may be different than in the past. We ask parents to please remind their children to exercise proper social distancing and wear masks while waiting on buses to arrive.


What about exceptional education students or students requiring special services?

We feel strongly that many of our exceptional education students will benefit the most from face-to-face interaction with their teachers. All of our students will be given the opportunity to learn in a safe environment. We will continue to serve our exceptional education students, students who require extra accommodations, and students who have IEPS or 504 plans. The district will continue to follow the students IEP and any changes necessary will be decided by the IEP team.


Can we move from in-person instruction to the Darlington County Virtual Academy once the school year begins?

We are asking parents to commit to a full year of in-person instruction at registration. We recognize the possibility that situations can and likely will change. If a family would like to move from in-person instruction to the Darlington County Virtual Academy after the school year begins, we will work to accommodate that request if space is available.


What will school hours be?

School hours are likely to be different this year due to our transportation restrictions and the need to run multiple bus routes throughout the day. We are finalizing details on school hours for in-person learning and the Darlington County Virtual Academy and hope to get the information out to our families very soon.


How will breakfast and lunch be handled? 

We are currently reviewing cafeteria capacity and looking for alternative eating spaces. Students will continue to be provided breakfast and lunch at school. 


Will students still have PE? 

PE classes will operate under social distancing guidelines. Use of shared objects will be limited when possible, or cleaned between use. Outdoor activities will be utilized when possible.