Fort Mill School District
2233 Deerfield Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29715
P: (803) 548-2527 | F: (803) 547-4696
Transportation: (803) 802-1998

Return to School 2020 - 2021
UPDATE: July 22, 2020

Following a review of the Return to School Plan, the District remains committed to the plan previously announced with one adjustment at the elementary school level. Superintendent Dr. Chuck Epps presented the Return to School Plan during public session at the school board meeting held Tuesday, July 21. The meeting can be viewed on the district's Youtube page.

The Return to School Guide along with the information below has been updated to reflect the current Return to School Plan.

The district has created separate calendars for each school level (elementary, middle, and high school) identifying A/B days, which can now be accessed through the "District Calendar" tab on the left sidebar.


A Message from Superintendent Dr. Chuck Epps

Faced with the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fort Mill School District has worked diligently to create a Return to School Plan for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Plan de Regreso a la Escuela para el año académico 2020-2021 (pdf)

In this process, the health, safety and well-being of our students, families, teachers, staff and community members, was of the highest priority. Additionally, we evaluated the resources and strategies we could employ to continue to provide the quality education to our students and families our district is known for.

Creating a plan to meet the ever-changing nature of this pandemic was and remains a challenging task even for the most seasoned educators. The district took its responsibility to heart and surveyed our parents, teachers and staff to ensure their concerns and suggestions were considered. While these surveys provided us with many strong suggestions, the district also learned that there is no one plan that would meet the needs of everyone impacted. Each student, family, and staff member is navigating this pandemic differently, and their priorities for what the upcoming school year should look like vary greatly.

As such, we have developed a plan that offers options for learning and promotes the health and safety of our students and staff. This plan was created following current DHEC and CDC guidelines, along with recommendations from state and national health organizations. Our families will be able to select from the fully online Fort Mill Virtual Academy or face-to-face instruction, as outlined below and in our Return to School Guide.

We also anticipate that circumstances may continue to change as we navigate this pandemic. We hope we will eventually be able to lift some of the restrictions for our face-to-face instruction if our situation improves, however we must recognize that at any time new guidelines may be needed or that forces beyond the district’s control may interrupt our school year. Our district is continuing to plan for these situations should they occur.

Despite the changes to the landscape of our educational system, the Fort Mill School District remains committed to our children, families, teachers, staff and community.  We appreciate all of your support as we partner in educating and putting our “Children First…Every Day.”

2020–2021 Learning Models

Elementary School Adjustment: Students will return to class following the Family Model with an A/B Model Schedule for the first four weeks of school.

Model Details:

  • The A/B Days will allow students time to acclimate to the new "Family Model" and the new daily protocols and procedures.
  • Elementary students will return to a full face-to-face Family Model beginning Monday, September 28.
  • Students will remain in their classroom with their homeroom in the family model to receive their instruction.
  • Students will participate in related arts by the related arts teachers coming to the classroom rather than the students transitioning to another classroom.
  • Students will eat breakfast and lunch in the classroom. The meals will be brought to the classroom.
  • Students who qualify for special education and the gifted and talented program may transition to another classroom.
  • Students will have recess and playgrounds will be cleaned after each use.

Middle School: Hybrid A/B Model

Model Details:

  • Students will be assigned to the “A Day” group OR the “B Day” group.This will be done by alphabet of the student’s last name.All schools using the A day / B day model will use the same groupings. Students will be assigned to their group as soon as possible, but it will not occur until after the registration window for the Fort Mill Virtual Academy closes. This will ensure the two groups (A group and B group) are as even as possible.
  • Using this model will greatly reduce class sizes during in-person instruction which follows the CDC recommendations for reducing the risk of exposure.With lower class sizes, teachers will have more time to work individually with students and provide greater personalized support. At the end of their in-person class, students will be given their independent learning assignment for the next day.
  • On the days students are not physically present in school, they should be prepared to follow the bell schedule of their school at home.They will not have direct contact with their teacher on the independent learning days, but the expectation is that they complete their assignments as if they are in school. Teachers will be able to provide feedback regarding the independent learning work the next day.
  • Students will be expected to complete all work assigned - on both their in-person days and at-home days. They will be graded on their independent learning assignments and it will count towards their grade. Their independent learning days are just as important as their in-person learning days.
  • Independent learning assignments will be engaging and meaningful.

High School: Hybrid A/B Model

Model Details:

  • Students will be assigned to the “A Day” group OR the “B Day” group.This will be done by alphabet of the student’s last name.All schools using the A day / B day model will use the same groupings. Students will be assigned to their group as soon as possible, but it will not occur until after the registration window for the Fort Mill Virtual Academy closes. This will ensure the two groups (A group and B group) are as even as possible.
  • Using this model will greatly reduce class sizes during in-person instruction which follows the CDC recommendations for reducing the risk of exposure. With lower class sizes, teachers will have more time to work individually with students and provide greater personalized support. At the end of their in-person class, students will be given their independent learning assignment for the next day.
  • On the days students are not physically present in school, they should be prepared to follow the bell schedule of their school at home.They will not have direct contact with their teacher on the dependent learning days, but the expectation is that they complete their assignments as if they are in school. Teachers will be able to provide feedback regarding the independent learning work the next day.
  • Students would be expected to complete all A day and B day work assigned. They will be graded on their independent learning assignments and it will count towards their grade. Their independent learning days are just as important as their in-person learning days. Independent learning assignments will be engaging and meaningful.

Fort Mill Virtual Academy Updated

Fort Mill Schools will offer a full virtual option for students in grades 5k-12 for the 2020–2021 school year. This option will differ from the remote learning experience that students had in the spring of 2020 during the schools’ closure. The FMVA will provide a more consistent curricular and instructional delivery model. Students will be assigned to a class or classes with dedicated Fort Mill School District teachers and with other students throughout the district.The second registration for the Virtual Academy will be open July 22-24.

Please visit the Fort Mill Virtual Academy website for more information or to register.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

All Fort Mill Facilities and buses will be cleaned and sanitized before during and after school hours. Please review the Return to School Guide for more information on our health and safety protocols.

Use of Masks or Face Coverings Updated

The District will require the use of face coverings for students and staff for the return to school in August. The district is providing face coverings to all staff and will provide face coverings for any student who cannot provide their own. The district will also install plastic screens at student seating in elementary school classes where class sizes may limit social distancing options. These measures are being implemented in an effort to promote a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and staff.

·         Appropriate face coverings include cloth face coverings, neck gaiters, face shields and masks. Designs on face coverings should not be disruptive to the educational process and should follow the dress code policy restricting logos and clothing that promotes alcohol, drugs, tobacco, racism, hate, gang affiliation, nudity, violence, and profanity.

·         Elementary students will be permitted to remove their mask while working at their desks behind their plastic screen and while outside for recess.

·         Per the guidelines released by the South Carolina Department of Education, students and drivers will be expected to wear masks on buses.

Students will have the opportunity to remove face coverings at times during the day. These times include but are not limited to: while seated behind plastic desk shields, outdoors for recess or other outdoor activities where social distancing is possible, performing activities during Physical Education classes, or when in areas where proper social distancing is possible. While the District will work to maintain social distancing protocols in middle and high school classrooms, the space available and the type of instruction may not allow for students to be fully social distanced and remove face coverings.

Schools will work with students and staff during the first weeks of school to determine areas and times where removing face covers will be appropriate based on their schedules, individual class sizes and available spaces.

The District also recognizes certain medical conditions prohibit the use of face coverings and will make exceptions for students who meet these criteria. A procedure for requesting this exception is currently being developed by our Special Services Department.

These steps are being taken to help ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff as we return to school. We hope to remove these requirements in the future and return to a normal school environment when it is safe to do so.

Please review the Return to School Guide for complete details on the topics above and much more. The website and guide will continue to be update as any new guidelines or changes to the school year are determined.


If you have any questions, please contact communications@fortmillschools.org.  Questions related specifically to the Fort Mill Virtual Academy should be directed to fmva@fortmillschools.org.