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Sumter schools extend virtual learning though January due to COVID-19

Officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 data and staff availability in anticipation of a tentative return to hybrid learning on Monday, February 1.

SUMTER COUNTY, S.C. — Sumter County public schools will continue virtual learning through the end of January, according to officials.

In a letter to parents on Friday, Sumter School District Superintendent Dr. Penelope E. Martin-Knox, Sumter County School District Superintendent, announced the extension of of 100% virtual learning through the remainder of the month.  

While the district had intended to to return to hybrid instruction on Thursday, January 21, Martin-Knox said the decision to stick with virtual learning was based on the continued increase of COVID-19 cases in the community.  

This is not what was anticipated," Martin-Knox said. "While no decision is easy, this is one that was not taken lightly and was made in conjunction with feedback from medical professionals, district leadership, and our principals and teachers.

Officials say their ultimate goal remains a return to face-to-face instruction; however, with the continued increase in COVID-19 incidence and positivity rates, "that option is not in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our students and staff at this time."

"Every day, staff members are reporting positive test results, which require isolation and a high number of staff to be quarantined," Martin-Knox said. Following established guidelines "causes a shortage of available staff in the schools."

Officials say they will continue to monitor COVID-19 data and staff availability in anticipation of a tentative return to hybrid learning Monday, February 1.