Signs outside a Nation Ford High School building enforce the district's mask policy. (Photo by Greg Rickabaugh)

Middle and high schools in Fort Mill will return to full in-school instruction beginning March 15.

In an announcement Monday afternoon, Communications Director Joe Burke said the district had seen a drop in COVID-19 case numbers. Also, student isolation and quarantine numbers have been on a slow but gradual decline.

“We have also seen limited community spread in our programs or schools,” Burke said by email. “Recent information released by the CDC has shown that schools do not pose a high risk for transmission of the COVID-19 virus when proper safety protocols are in place. The district has installed physical safety measures such as desk shields in all schools and we are finalizing protocols to encourage social distancing during high traffic times.”

Burke said the district also expects the legislature to move teachers and staff into the 1A category, allowing them to receive the vaccine sooner.

The district will return all middle and high school students to a full five-day instructional model beginning Monday, March 15. This decision does not impact current students who are part of the Fort Mill Virtual Academy.

Burke said the district will continue to monitor COVID and make any adjustments needed.

“While we are seeing positive changes occurring now, we will have plans in place should the situation in our area deteriorate and the need to return to a hybrid or virtual model arises,” he said.