December 31, 2021
To: All Stakeholders of Lexington County School District Two
Re: Returning from Winter Break
I hope this letter finds you well and able to celebrate the holidays and the New Year safely with friends and family. As we return to school campuses on January 3 from Winter Break, it feels prudent to update all of you on new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) concerning isolation and to address some general “housekeeping.”
Should you test positive for COVID-19, you are to isolate for five (5) calendar days regardless of your vaccination status. If you show no symptoms at the end of your fifth day in isolation, you can return to school and work while wearing a mask or face covering for an additional five (5) calendar days. If you are symptomatic at the end of your fifth day in isolation, isolation will continue for an additional five (5) days.
If you are considered a close contact, you do not have to quarantine if you are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated for ages 16 and up means having completed the initial vaccination series and receiving a booster. Fully vaccinated for ages 5-15 means having completed the initial vaccination series.
If you develop symptoms, schedule a COVID-19 test and please remain home until you know the results. Keep in mind that symptoms of the now-prevalent Omicron variant are similar to traditional COVID but also may include symptoms more closely associated with the common cold – runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, headache.
It is anticipated there may be further clarifications on guidance from the CDC and/or DHEC, and as they impact learning and operations, we will continue to inform stakeholders. You can view DHEC’s recent announcement about the changes to COVID-19 isolation here.
Student, employee, and general school safety are and will continue to be priorities for the district, but we are aware there have been heightened concerns or questions due to local and national headlines. While we did have an increased level of student behavior interruptions at the beginning of the school year, our staff and administration have been responsive and proactive, ultimately seeing a curb in disruptions.
These disruptions can be attributed to the extended time students have spent at home and under virtual learning at the end of the 2019-20 school year and throughout the 2020-21 school year, in addition to disrupted in-person learning this school year due to quarantine procedures established by the CDC and DHEC. Essentially, our students’ traditional norms in experiencing school, engaging consistently and normally in social behaviors, and processing their own emotions and experiences have been upended.
The district office has been reporting to the Board of Trustees its efforts to continue being responsive to evolving needs and being proactive where possible. As a district we continue to collaborate with law enforcement and reflect internally about safety and security procedures, identify current and future needs, and analyze trends in disruption and behavior.
Beginning January 1, 2022, Lexington Two will be enforcing a "no bag" policy for after school events. This means attendees are unable to bring into an event their book bags or any other large or oversized bags. The district recognizes there may be situations that require attendees to bring in a large or oversized bag (i.e. medical reasons, baby/infant care, etc.) and that can be permissible upon request or entry with building administration.
We thank you for your understanding and assistance with helping Lexington Two be committed and vigilant as we continue to move forward in keeping students, employees, and community members safe.
The district was proactive in its anticipation of the mental health needs of our students. This was also repeatedly identified as a need by our stakeholders, and in our recent “Return to In-Person Learning” survey, the district was very much complimented for its actions and commitment in addressing mental health concerns.
Stemming from the previous section about national headlines, we know that student mental health has the potential to affect individual, classroom, and school safety. If students are having feelings of depression or anxiety, or just need an adult to speak to, it is strongly encouraged for them to meet with their school social worker and/or reach out to a staff member or building administrator they trust for assistance.
Parents, if you are noticing your child having such feelings or having general concerns, please reach out to your child’s teacher(s) or the building administrator. If you are also looking for additional information or resources, please click here for DHEC’s page on mental and emotional health during the pandemic.
Addressing school safety and mental health is a collective effort, and the district has and will continue to listen and respond to the needs and concerns of our stakeholders to ensure there is a safe and meaningful learning experience for students and work environment for our employees.
Dr. Nicolas Wade
Superintendent of Schools