As students return for the first day of school in Lancaster County, South Carolina, the district’s leadership has confirmed that a 16-year-old student has died of complications from Covid-19.”We are saddened to learn of the passing of a 16-year-old Andrew Jackson High student from Covid complications,” Lancaster County School District Superintendent Jonathan Phipps said in a statement .Chief Deputy Coroner Jennifer Collins confirmed the student died August 12. The 16-year-old’s name is not being released because the student was a minor, the coroner said.
Phipps told CNN that the district already had 21 students infected with Covid-19 and 58 students are in quarantine, ahead of Monday’s first day of school. Additionally, there are 20 staff members with confirmed Covid-19 and 40 are quarantining. Phipps said a number of staff members have called in with Covid-19 symptoms, and he expects positive cases to increase.Phipps said he expects student enrollment to be above 15,000 this year.
“We are starting school with classes being taught by substitute teachers, administrators are stretched for supervision, buses are doing double routes, maintenance workers are working over(time) to cover those out and we canceled last week’s preseason football game at one of our high schools due to eight positive cases with our players,” Phipps said.Phipps highlighted the “tremendous amount of political pressure” from Gov. Henry McMaster for schools to continue in-person learning. McMaster signed an executive order on May 11 that restricted school districts from mandating masks for students.”We will do the best we can to stay in-person as long as we have coverage,” Phipps said.Phipps has encouraged mask wearing during school for students.
“Although we cannot mandate students to wear a mask, I would ask you to please consider your child wearing a mask especially in those areas where we’re not able to social distance,” Phipps said during an August 13 update.