The state of South Carolina announced that all government-run schools would remain shuttered through the end of April in response to rising concerns regarding the 2019-2020 coronavirus – extending a previously announced closure.
Earlier this month, S.C. governor Henry McMaster announced a two-week school closure in response to the virus. He was criticized at the time for ordering the closure too late.
Initially, McMaster planned on closing schools in just two of the Palmetto State’s 46 counties.
On Tuesday, he and state superintendent of education Molly Spearman issued a joint statement extending the closings through April 30.
“At this time, students, parents, and families should plan for South Carolina’s schools to remain closed through the month of April,” the statement noted. “Our dedicated teachers and school administrators have done a tremendous job in making it possible for our students to learn at home. We understand that the prospect of schools remaining closed for an extended period of time places stress and strain on parents and children. Rest assured, if there is any way to safely open our schools earlier, we will do that, but schools must remain closed to protect the health and safety of South Carolinians.”
A follow-up executive order will be issued memorializing the decision, which also applies to all government-run “colleges, universities, and technical colleges.”
The announcement came a day after the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) – the agency leading the Palmetto State’s response to the virus – announced that it had confirmed 299 cases in thirty-four counties.
Five South Carolinians have died from the virus.
Obviously, the coronavirus cases reported by SCDHEC do not represent the true extent of all positive tests in South Carolina (private labs are also conducting tests), nor does the total number of positive tests represent the true extent of the spread of the virus.
Of interest? The total number of cases announced on Monday exceeded internal government projections exclusively reported by this news outlet last week – which called for 282 total cases at this point in the evolution of the outbreak. Some good news? SCDHEC announced that its laboratory had returned 2,019 negative tests.
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