SC Gov. Henry McMaster Closes All Schools Until March 31

Henry McMaster

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced that with 20 cases of Coronavirus COVID 19, all public K-12 schools and colleges will be closed until March 31 starting Monday, this includes technical colleges and universities.

Many public colleges already announced plans to push classes online and asked students to avoid campus.

However, day cares and private schools are not included in his mandate; however they are strongly encouraged to close as well. Several private schools and colleges across the state have planned to stop in-person classes and switch temporarily to online instruction. There has not been a decision as to how those days will be made up. Teachers and employees will be paid.

An online petition, one of several, had started Saturday to close all schools in South Carolina, with many teachers and parents protesting the decision to keep most of the state’s schools open. Some said they would keep their children home regardless of the state or district’s decision. In less than 24 hours the petition collected close to 5,000 signatures.

State Epidemeologist Dr. Linda Bell : “Our top priorities remain preventing the spread of the disease and protecting the public health,” Bell said. “This includes working to control spread and measures that best protect all individuals. We encourage the public to maintain their daily routines of protecting against illness by practicing good hygiene and handwashing, and individuals with signs of illness are asked to take seriously the recommendation to stay home from school and work and not attend public gatherings.” McMaster says the state has more than enough testing capabilities for the state. The faith communities are encouraged to check on their members especially the elderly and infirmed. Nine new cases of the virus are being investigated in the state. 263 tests have been conducted so far in South Carolina. Free online screening is available at

There is no need to hoard food and supplies which affects the ability of friends and neighbors to get the items they need.

Those who need to be fed will be fed while school is out. Some meals will be delivered by school buses or will be available for "grab and go"

Buses may also be used to drop off instructional materials. There is more info available by watching the governor's address.

In addition: Jasper County Disabilities and Special Needs will also be closed for the rest of the mont

from the Beaufort County School District spokesman James Foster:

As the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to increase, Gov. Henry McMaster today ordered all South Carolina schools to close until March 31.

All school-related events, including after-school activities and spring sports, have been put on hold by the governor’s order.

While Beaufort County School District schools are closed, students will be able to participate in online learning activities. Schools will communicate with parents on Monday about those procedures, and paper-based work packets will be prepared for students who don’t have Internet access at home.

“This is an unprecedented situation, something that has never occurred in our lifetimes,” said Superintendent Frank Rodriguez. “But our school teams have been preparing for this, and they’re moving forward with their plans.”

In addition to at-home lessons, the school district will offer free breakfasts and lunches on weekdays at regional pick-up locations across the county. The first availability will be lunch on Monday.

“Thousands of Beaufort County families depend on our schools to provide meals for kids, and we don’t want the current emergency to stop that,” Rodriguez said. “Our food service contractor, Sodexo, has set up a distribution system we can fine-tune as needed in the days ahead.”

Rodriguez said any child age 18 or younger can receive free breakfasts and lunches regardless of meal status during the school year.

Meals will be prepared and transported to 11 sites across the county: Battery Creek High, Beaufort High, Beaufort Middle, Bluffton High, Hilton Head Island High, James J. Davis Early Childhood Center, Okatie Elementary, Red Cedar Elementary, St. Helena Elementary, Whale Branch Early College High and the Port Royal YMCA.

Drive-through meal pick-ups will be available in the bus rider drop-offs at each location from 7:15-8:45 a.m. (breakfast) and 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (lunch).

Students must be present at the time of pick up. All food will be “grab-and-go,” with no food consumed on site. No one will be allowed in the school buildings.

Breakfast items will vary and may include cereal with milk, fruit, Fruit Frudels, whole grain Pop Tarts, cereal bars, milk and juice. Lunches will be sandwiches, fruit, fresh vegetables and milk.

UPDATED; Several working parents said today that they could not take advantage of our free meal distribution system because they couldn’t get off work to take their children to one of the 11 pick-up sites across the county. That was a perfectly valid concern, and our food service and transportation offices worked all day to address it.

Starting Tuesday, we will add an additional meal pick-up location at Whale Branch Middle School, bringing our district-wide total to 12 locations where any child under 18 can pick up a free breakfast or a free lunch.

Also starting tomorrow, we will begin using school buses to drop off meals at specific 20-minute stops across the county. A list of those new meal pick-up locations will be e-mailed to you (and to all district parents) later tonight and posted to the school district website at, and also to the school district’s Facebook page. Parents are being encouraged to check the new list of bus routes and 20-minute stops to find the location nearest to them.

We’ve obviously never encountered a situation like this before, so it’s safe to assume that we will fine-tune this operation even more as we go forward. We will let you and our parents know any time we make changes.

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