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Lexington-Rich 5 parents challenge district on COVID-19 protocols

Some Lexington-Richland Five parents said they feel the district needs to step up its COVID mitigation measures.

CHAPIN, S.C. — Some Lexington-Richland Five parents said they feel the district should be doing more to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“With the rising numbers of quarantine in not only our district but across the state, I mean this is clear, the kids are not okay," one parent said at a school board meeting on Monday. "But the teachers are also not okay. This seems to be missing from the rhetoric and propaganda of our district leadership.” 

She also said, “Silence speaks volumes. We can’t take care of teachers and staff by just hiring substitute teachers and contact tracers. We need action and that action starts through communication.”

RELATED: Parents frustrated over quarantine procedures at Lexington-Richland 5

Communication is one factor the board said it’s presenting in a new way through a new COVID-19 dashboard. Officials said the dashboard will allow people to track the COVID numbers at their school in real time. However, no dashboard or reference thereto could be found on the district's website as of 11 p.m. Monday evening.

Officials also said parents will also be able to view how many students and staff are quarantined or tested positive. 

Parents still expressed they felt the district should be taking more action.

“Without implementing masks as the CDC guidance directs, our schools are doing a poor job at protecting those at risk, at highest risk, in our community,” said one parent.

Since schools reopened in August, Lexington-Richland Five has been operating at a level four. It’s only one level away from closing its buildings and moving classes online. 

#LexRich5Schools announces Levels of Mitigation for COVID-19 Operations Guidance for District Schools for the 2021-22...

Posted by District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties on Wednesday, August 4, 2021

RELATED: SC school report cards show pandemic's effect on learning

The district reported Monday it is currently the number one traditional public school district in South Carolina for college and career readiness scores.   

Despite this accomplishment, parents said they feel the district leaves a lot to be desired.

“This district could be doing more, and should be doing more than we were even a year ago. Particularly given how turbulent the Delta strain is and how a large number of children in our district are under the age of 12 and cannot currently receive the vaccination,” said one parent.

Overall, the parents are calling for solidarity in keeping its students and staff safe.

“Perhaps in the near future, we’ll experience a renaissance of unity once we get past this current fight. But we should all remember that the fight is against COVID-19 and not against each other.”

RELATED: 'I’m scared for my life this school year': Lexington-Richland 5 students, parents challenge optional masks