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Fort Mill Schools Superintendent Chuck Epps said the district plans to return to five days of face-to-face learning for high school and middle school students at the beginning of the second semester starting on January 26.

During Tuesday night’s trustees meeting, Dr. Epps said the district continues to monitor all active COVID-19 cases in the district and quarantine students and staff as necessary.

“If we go through this flu season or this viral season, and York County unfortunately just switches back to this high category … that is going to drive everything. But this is our intention,” Dr. Epps said.

But with plans to go back to normal in late January, all high school students will be asked to declare their intention to attend class in person or virtually for the second semester.

“The window for declaring this choice will be open from October 23 to November 6 to allow for class scheduling,” a district news release says.

More information about the declaration process will be provided to parents prior to the opening of the window. Middle and elementary school students enrolled in the Fort Mill Virtual Academy will remain in the virtual program for the remainder of the year as previously announced.

Full comments from Dr. Epps are available in the meeting video linked here.

In other news from Tuesday’s meeting:

CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act Budget Update: Mrs. Leanne Lordo presented an update on the items procured through the CARES Act. These items, which were requested through separate funding, assist the school district in providing PPE and other supplies to the schools for response to the Coronavirus. The state is providing the items requested by the district through a recent survey from the state procurement office. The items include desk shields, additional cleaning supplies, additional disinfecting mister machines and PPE.

The state has decided to allocate reimbursement funds to districts for costs previously incurred under a direct allocation model which is based on pupil count with the poverty index. This method may impact the amount of funds the district could receive.

Employee Assistance Program: Ms. Liza McGarity provided an overview of the Employee Assistance Program, provided through a partnership with McLaughlin Young Group, which is offered to all district employees. The EAP provides free, confidential, short-term counseling and personal consultation relating to personal and/or professional concerns, including family/relationship issues, grief and loss, alcohol and drug use, and more. The EAP also provides work-life resources for such issues as legal and financial consultations, online learning and resources. Employees may contact Human Resources with any additional questions.