COLUMBIA, S.C. (WTOC) - Governor Henry McMaster announced on Sunday that all public schools in South Carolina will be closed through the month of March.
Schools Pre-k through 12th grade, colleges, and technical colleges will be closed until March 31st. This will go into effect on Monday, March 16th and will impact Beaufort, Hampton, and Jasper Counties.
His decision comes after six new cases of COVID-19 were announced on Saturday. Three of those cases are in Beaufort County. There are a total of 19 active cases in the Palmetto State as of Sunday.
Governor McMaster and his administration are working to make sure every child will have access to food during the shutdown. The state Department of Education will also petition the federal Department of Education to request state standardized tests be suspended.
Superintendents for both Jasper and Beaufort County Schools say they will continue education efforts for students during this time, but they understand some students may not have access to online resources.
“Our schools are working to prepare packets for our schools," said Beaufort County Superintendent Frank Rodriguez. "Learning packets that will support the academic work.”
One of their biggest concerns is feeding their students
“What we will be doing is cooking the meals at set locations, those will be taken to distribution sites, then we will be taking the meals and driving them to other set locations across the community,” Rodriguez said.
Click here for more information about those locations.
The governor says this is all about trying to move through this unprecedented time.
“School closings are inconvenient,” said Governor McMaster. “We know that. They are inconvenient for everybody. For working parents, for employers, we understand that. Parents, if you have not done so already, now is the time to explain to your children the seriousness of the coronavirus situation is.”
Anyone with concerns about their health, or who believes they are showing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should call their health care provider.
People with general questions about coronavirus should call the DHEC Care Line at 855-472-3432. The line is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. Callers are urged to be patient as call volumes are high.
People without a doctor can take advantage of free online screening from Prisma Health and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
MUSC has an online platform to aid with coronavirus diagnosis and care. Go to www.musc.care and access the COVID-19 platform. The service is free with code: COVID19.