Safety Protocols and Precautions

  • safety protocols

    We know the best place for students is in the classroom with their teachers and their peers; however, our first priority is to keep everyone safe. Therefore, an extensive array of protocols have been developed and implemented to enable learning to continue in the safest possible environment. These protocols are continually evaluated and updated as new information becomes available. 

    See the COVID-19 dashboard of cases in our schools here.

    can't mask our love   child in a mask

    Safe & Healthy Schools

    The health and safety of our students, educators, and families is paramount. Our protocols are based on medical science combined with educational best-practices to maximize students’ health and safety. They include, but not limited to, the following:

    • Reduced student class size cohorts
    • Social/Physical Distancing to the fullest extent possible at all times and limited interactions of people at school sites
    • Hand-washing stations being properly supplied
    • Essential Protective Equipment (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, water) being provided
    • County, State, and Federal guidelines being shared with educators, parents, and administrators as the recommendations change.

    General Health & Safety Protocols

    signage mask signage distance

    • District staff is trained in COVID-19 safety protocols, and students will engage in lessons focused on hand washing and social distancing practices at the beginning of the school year.
    • Medical-grade, CDC-approved disinfectants will be used for deep cleaning campuses on a regular and ongoing basis.
    • Students, teachers, and staff will be encouraged to sanitize and/or wash hands frequently following proper practices.
    • Tissues will be provided in classrooms and common areas to encourage students and staff to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or hand sanitizer should be used.
    • Plexi-glass has been added to public reception desks and conference areas. 
    • Social distancing and safety signage has been added and visible throughout school facilities.
    • Visitors to campuses will be limited to essential needs on the campus. Lunch visitors will not be permitted.
    • Main school entrances will be locked immediately after arrival times and remain that way throughout the day to help ensure effective management and safe screening of visitors. Hand sanitizer will be available upon entering the building.
    • Volunteers will be limited to essential needs and approved by school personnel prior to arriving at the school. Any volunteers scheduled for work at a campus will complete a pre-screening survey prior to entering the school.
    • District 7 is permitted to prevent any individual who fails the health screening criteria from being admitted to the campus until they meet any of the criteria for re-entry to the campus.
    • Students will be encouraged to use backpacks instead of hallway lockers and cubbies to help ensure social distancing/space between students.

    Health Pre-Screening for Staff & Students

    Parents/Guardians of students and staff will be required to self-screen daily before arriving at school. Anyone with a fever of 100 or higher should not come to school or a D7 facility.

    temperature check  stay six feet away yoda sign

    District 7 will also administer temperature checks at all schools. Students with a temperature of 100 or higher will not be permited on campus or will need to be picked up from school. Parents will be contacted to pick up students who are unable to remain at school.  Students should be picked up within an hour from the time the campus contacted the student’s parent/guardian. *See detailed SCDHEC criteria for students below. 

    Arriving at School

    • Parents are unable to walk with their child into school this year. Students sgould be seated and ready to learn at 7:45am for elementary, 7:50am for middle school, and 8:15am for high school. 
    • Students arriving at school early will be expected to social distance and spread out in larger common spaces (pre-designated by the campus, like the gym, library, and cafeteria) until the bell rings to report to class.
    • Bus riders will be taught to space themselves out from others as they exit the bus and walk into the school building.
    • Students will be expected to use hand sanitizer immediately upon entering the building.

    Bus Transportation Protocols

    electrostatic sprayer on bus child waiting to get on a bus

    • School Distict 7 will provide bus transportation for all students who register for transportation services and meet the eligibility requirements for transportation.
    • Bus drivers have been trained in COVID-19 safety protocols.
    • Each student will be required to wear a mask at all times while on the bus.
    • Bus riders will be encouraged to sit apart from one another and will be required to sit facing the front of the bus and keep their hands to themselves.
    • Drivers will be required to wear a face covering/mask.
    • Hand sanitizer will be available on all buses and are to be used by students when exiting the bus.
    • Seats, handles, and high-touch areas will be disinfected after every trip per SCDHEC guidelines, utilizing CDC-approved disinfectant through Electrostatic Disinfectant Sprayers.
    • When possible, bus windows will be opened to allow outside air to circulate in the bus.

    Lunchroom Safety

    • School Distict 7 plans to utilize classsroom and school cafeteria for student meals. NOTE: No parents/visitors will be allowed during lunch.
    • Cafeteria staff have been trained in COVID-19 safety protocols.
    • Classes will go to lunch on a staggered schedule to minimize the number of students in the cafeteria each period. The campus may add a lunch period to reduce the number of students in each lunch period as well.
    • All cafeteria staff will be wearing masks and gloves while serving students.
    • Seats, tables, door handles, and high-touch areas will be disinfected between lunch periods/use.
    • Middle school and high school students will be given a pre-order option to minimize face-to-face contact in the cafeteria line.
    • When possible, food items will be pre-packed and boxed to minimize face-to-face contact in the cafeteria line.

    Water Fountains 

    • Public drinking water supplies are safe to drink, however, the surfaces around drinking fountains, including the spout, button/lever and nozzles, could pose a risk for the transmission of COVID-19 and other germs. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises drinking fountains can be used if cleaned regularly, in order to provide a safe environment and reduce the workload on our limited custodial staff, all drinking fountains in our schools will be turned off until further notice.
    • D7 is installing touchless water bottle fill stations that will remain active; however, the availability of stations will still be limited. All students should bring a FULL water bottle to school with them each day. 

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & Masks

    kids with masks   child wearing a mask

    • Students, staff, and visitors in District 7 will be required to wear masks in many cases. Masks will be required of all students while transitioning inside our buildings. At the elementary level where our Family Classrooms model is in place, students will be required to wear masks when class activities significantly reduce physical distancing (i.e. small group work or teacher/student one-on-one interaction). At the middle and high school levels, students will be required to wear masks when physical distancing is less than six feet. 
    • We are requiring face coverings (disposable or reusable) to be made with two layers of breathable material, and to cover the nose and mouth. Masks with ear loops or ties are acceptable as well neck-gaiter-style masks. Per our policy triangle bandanas or scarfs will not acceptable face coverings.
    • Cloth face coverings need be changed daily and washed with soap or detergent and hot water. Make sure the mask is completely dry before you reuse it, as a wet mask can make it harder to breathe and can promote the growth of microorganisms.
    • Researchers say a tight-weave 100% cotton is the best bet. That's because at the microscopic level, the natural fibers in cotton tend to have more three-dimensional structure than synthetic fibers, Several studies have found that masks made of multiple layers are more effective at blocking small particles.
    • A face shield is only to be used by students who are unable to wear a mask (unless  students want to wear both a mask and a shield).

    Handwashing & Hand Sanitizers

    sanitizer station  teacher with hand sanitizer

    • Students will be trained in proper hand washing protocols to aid in the prevention of COVID-19 and the spread of germs.
    • All students will be expected to wash their hands for 20 seconds at least two times each day, in addition all students will be encouraged to wash hands after using the restroom, before eating and when visibly soiled. 
    • Handwashing stations are available in restrooms and some classrooms.
    • Hand sanitizer stations have been added in each elementary classroom and commons areas.
    • Hand sanitizer stations have been added in all common areas throughout all middle schools and high schools.
    • District 7 is following the toxic hand sanitizer list and making sure that all of our products - hand sanitizer, disinfectant sprays, cleaning solutions, and soaps -  are safe. 

    Social Distancing Protocols

    distancing 6 feet   plexiglass desk

    • Staff have been trained in proper social distancing rules. 
    • Signage is provided to help assist students and staff with social distancing in common spaces and hallways.
    • Social Distance processes are a personal responsibility of each individual attending school or coming to a D7 facility. Anyone causing a disruption or unwilling to follow D7 safety protocols, putting students/staff at unnecessary risk may be asked to leave the premises immediately.
    • We understand that all students have different needs, but whenever possible throughout the day, students and staff will remain six feet apart. NOTE: it isn't always feasible for staff and students to maintain six feet of social distancing at all times, especially in classrooms.
    • Campuses have developed schedules and protocols for the use of common areas, including how to sanitize space between use. When needed, students will bring personal supplies from the classroom. All students and staff will be expected to use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting common areas. 

    Cleaning & Disinfectant Protocols

    electrostatic sprayer  backpack sprayer

    • District 7 custodial employees have been trained on COVID-19 safety protocols.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting will occur nightly in every classroom, restroom, commons area, and on high-touch surfaces.
    • Every classroom and office area will have disinfectant in a spray bottle with appropriate cleaning cloths provided for employees and students to use on high-touch areas throughout the school day.
    • The state recommends that each school district provide students the opportunity to clean their own spaces before and after they are used in ways that are safe and developmentally appropriate.
    • Restrooms, cafeterias, and playgrounds (when allowed for use) will undergo extensive cleaning each day utilizing Electrostatic Disinfectant Sprayers.
    • District 7 is following the toxic hand sanitizer list and making sure that all of our products - hand sanitizer, disinfectant sprays, cleaning solutions, and soaps -  are safe.  

Protocols for COVID-19 Symptoms, Positive Cases, Close Contacts & Quarantines

  • District 7 will ensure schools operate as safely as possible while adhering to the SCDHEC guidance for schools. 

    If your child or anyone who lives in your home tests positve for COVID-19, or is experiencing symptoms, or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive outside of school, please contact your school nurse here immediately. 

    Symptom Protocols

    If your child has any one of the following symptoms, he/she may not attend school (please inform your school nurse here immediately):

    • Temperature equal to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; OR
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (or, for students with a chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their breathing from baseline); OR
    • Loss of taste or smell; OR
    • New or worsening cough (or, for students with a chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change from baseline)

    If your child has a combination of the following symptoms, he/she may not attend school (please inform your school nurse here immediately):

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

    If your child develops the above symptoms while at school, he/she will be assisted to the designated isolation room and be monitored by the school designee until pick up. In this case:

    • Students will be instructed to wear a mask if able to safely do so
    • The parent/guardian will be contacted immediately upon student isolation for student pickup.
    • The parent/guardian will receive an information packet outlining next steps for testing, quarantine, and returning to school.
    • The parent/guardian will receive a follow-up call from their School Nurse to obtain updates.

    Student Pick-up

    In order to keep all staff and students healthy, it is expected that students will be dismissed within one hour of parent/guardian contact.

    Return to School for Those Experiencing Symptoms (for those who have tested positive, see Positive Case Protocols below)

    Return Criteria for Students and Staff Excluded Due to Symptoms:

    • A negative PCR (mouth or nose swab) COVID-19 test must be submitted to the school nurse, or
    • A medical evaluation determines that symptoms are more likely due to another cause (e.g. sore throat due to strep throat), or
    • 10 days of quarantine have been completed, and
      • 24 hours fever free without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
      • An overall improvement of symptoms

    Positive Case Protocols


    Those with a positive COVID-19 test result must complete the following quarantine criteria before returning to school:

    • 10 days have passed since symptoms started – AND
    • 24 hours have passed since fever ended without taking medicine to reduce fever – AND
    • Overall improvement in symptoms

    Those who test positive but do not have symptoms will be required to stay out of school until:

    • 10 days after the test was administered

    Close Contacts & Quarantine Protocols

    A close contact is defined as someone who has been within six feet (even with a mask) of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. DHEC guidance on close contacts allows mask wearing while seated behind an approved plexiglass divider at 3 feet or greater distance and allows those meeting this guideline not to be considered close contacts.

    District 7 nursing team will determine the appropriate quarantine protocols during interviews with close contacts. Updated CDC guidance (as of December 2020) offers the following quarantine time options:

    • Day 10: Discontinuing after day 10 may be considered if the contact has no symptoms reported throughout the quarantine period. The post-quarantine transmission risk after completing 10 days of quarantine is estimated to be between1% - 10%.
    • Those returning to school after day 10 are required to wear a mask at all times through day 14, maintain physical distancing, and continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14 (and to immediately report any symptoms).
    • The 10 day quarantine period begins the day following the LAST close contact with the person who is COVID-19 positive.

    Every District 7 school has a registered nurse on staff who is happy to answer any questions you may have. 

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in D7 Schools

  • In this section, District 7 is sharing information about confirmed COVID-19 cases for individuals within our schools. DHEC, in conjunction with District 7, conducts contact tracing and provides specific guidance to those students and staff who are determined to have been in close contact with those who test positive. According to DHEC, a close contact is someone who has been within six feet of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (note that updated guidance allows mask wearing in combination with an approved plexiglass divider to be used at 3 feet or greater). It is important to note that students (via their parents/guardians) and staff who are determined to be close contacts according to DHEC guidelines will receive written notification. Unless you receive notification, your child is not considered a close contact.

    If your child or anyone who lives in your home tests positve for COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms, or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive outside of school, please contact your school nurse here immediately. 

    As always, thank you for your continued support as we all work together to keep our school community safe. 

COVID-19 Dashboard

  • The COVID Dashboard is typically updated every 24 hours. Our goal is to provide the most accurate information in a timely manner.  On occasion, an increase in positive cases and contact tracing across multiple sites delays the update until final numbers can be tabulated and confirmed. Additionally, new cases are added as they are reported to the district and are listed by the date in which the positive test was received, not the date the district learned of the case. Therefore, numbers for a particular date may be updated over time. District 7 reports quarantines resulting from documented close contacts within our schools.

    View the Mobile Friendly Version of the COVID-19 Dashboard 

All Positive COVID-19 Cases Since School Opened on August 17, 2020