Florence 1 superintendent outlines plan for reopening, alternating schedule


Florence 1 Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley outlined Thursday his vision for the 2020-2021 school year.

The plan- which he billed ‘Emerging Stronger,’ includes an A/B cohort schedule for students. Students would alternate every other day between face to face and online learning.

“Not putting all students in schools is going to be the best way for us to maintain safety and health for our staff and students,” O’Malley said.

Under the proposal, students would be divided into two cohorts- A and B- alphabetically.

Florence 1’s plan comes just a day after Governor McMaster called on districts to give parents the option between sending their child into school five days a week or keeping them home for online learning.

“I have no reason to say that I will put students five days a week right now, when everything else is  telling me that’s not how you start,” Dr. O’Malley said during the virtual meeting.

“I would like to put this plan forward for whoever has to approve it at the state level… And if they do not accept that, that I would ask the board to accept the consequences.”

O’Malley said the plan is for the ‘health and safety for our staff and students,’ something he described as the district’s ‘first priority.’

The board later unanimously endorsed it.

“I think that will be important when he submits it. For the state to know this board is behind him and his plan,” board member Trisha Caulder said.

The plan was exhaustive– touching on countless intricacies of the school day.

The district is spending around 1.5 million dollars in supplies like masks, gloves and hand sanitizer to begin the school year.

It’s also deploying technology to help keep teachers and students safe.

F1S has installed UV light technology in all nurses offices, as well as temperature screening devices in schools.

The district was allocated $4.5 million in CARES funding. Two million is slated for supplies, PPE and sanitizing equipment. Another two is headed for technology costs, while $500,000 is for the summer remediation program

Students, staff and visitors will all need masks in buildings and on buses.

Florence One Schools will also offer all students a virtual alternative. Enrollment for that is expected to begin early August.

All districts are expected to have their plans submitted to the state by Friday.

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Florence 1 Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley is expected to discuss the district’s preliminary re-opening plans Thursday night with the board of trustees.

Last month, the board unanimously approved a revised calendar that pushed the start date for students back to September 8. Under that calendar, teachers head back August 24. The school year would end on June 11.

School was originally supposed to start for Florence 1 students on August 3.

O’Malley said the new calendar would give more time to have more data on the spread of COVID-19. He also said last month a virtual academy would be offered as an alternative.

The meeting is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. and can be viewed below.

Count on News13 for updates.

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