By By KATRENA McCALL
After starting school on Aug. 19, Colleton Preparatory Academy’s school year is going well.
The staff spent all summer making plans for this year, settling on plan A then moving to another plan as the recommendations for starting school in the Covid-19 pandemic changed, said head of school Jill Burttram.
“It was a lot of rethinking of what used to be normal.” But all that thinking and re-thinking paid off with a successful nearly three weeks back at in-person school.
“Everyone was so ready to come back. The kids were so glad to see each other, and the parents were so happy to be going back to work,” Burttram said.
The planning was easier because CPA is so small, with only about 400 students and just under 50 teachers.
“We have plenty of space to spread them out,” she said, as their classes have 16 or fewer students per class. The surfaces in the school building are disinfected several times a day and sprayed down completely after school, as well as numerous other precautions, such as turning off water fountains and using bottled water.
And so far, the plans have gone well. Yes, there have been three students in the high school that tested positive for the virus, but “we never thought we could keep it out. We just want to keep it under control,” she said. “And three is less than one percent. Plus, they didn’t all test positive at the same time.” The three positive tests did, however, result in the cancellation of the Sept. 4 football game by Northwoods Academy, which has a school policy against playing schools that have had any positive cases.
The three positive cases were reported to SCDHEC, that said no further quarantine of classes was required other than for the three positive students, Burttram said.
Because of the school’s small size, CPA doesn’t have the resources to offer virtual school, Burttram said, so “we have tried to be flexible. We’ve let students wait to start until after Labor Day, do virtual with the state if they want. We’re just offering what we can and every parent has to decide.”
She’s been providing parents with weekly updates on the status at the school.
“I think everyone is just ready to find some type of normal. They’re happy kids when they get out of their cars in the morning.”