“Very exciting time”: Schools off to good start in York, Lancaster counties

School systems around the region got through the first day without major problems, according to their spokespeople.

Fort Mill school district welcomed the return of about 16,800 students, said Joe Burke, spokesperson for the Fort Mill school district.

“Today marks a very exciting time for families,” Burke said in an email. “Some are sending their kids to school for the first time and others are starting the final year of their K-12 education.”

The new 400,000-square foot Catawba Ridge High School, along Fort Mill Parkway, opened its door to the inaugural class today, Burke said. The school will serve about 850 students in grades 9-11 the first year, The Herald previously reported. Catawba Ridge will serve grades 9-12 beginning the 2020-2021 school year.

“The population growth has continued in the district,” Burke said. “We are again adding roughly 1,000 additional students from the same time last year.”

Despite construction around Lancaster County district schools, there were no first-day hiccups for the district, said Michelle Craig, spokesperson for the Lancaster County school district.

“Today was one of the smoothest openings we have ever had,” Craig said.

Clover school district spokesperson Bryan Dillon said the first day went well. The district had a few 10-15 minute bus delays, but it was nothing more than what the schools expected to handle on the first day.

“Those minor delays will get sorted out,” Dillon said. “And it will soon become a normal day.”

The 10 York district schools welcomed about 5,200 students, said Tim Cooper, the district’s spokesperson. He said once enrollment settles, the district expects to have about 50 students above last year’s enrollment.

Cooper said York facilities had a few upgrades over the summer — which included a new entrance and fire alarm system at York Intermediate School, new intercom systems at multiple schools, new digital radio communication system across the district and a new activity bus for after-school programs and school activities.

York and Clover school district leaders partnered with Comporium, Duke Energy and York Technical College to offer a first-of-its-kind utility line worker certification program, Cooper said.

The program, which starts this school year, will provide students with skills to work as a utility worker after graduation, Cooper said. Spots for this year’s program have been filled, The Herald previously reported.

Rock Hill schools welcomed nearly 18,000 students, said Mychal Frost, spokesperson for Rock Hill school district. Frost said this year, Rock Hill schools are completely staffed in certified positions.

“This means each student was greeted in class by a certified teacher,” Frost said in an email. “This is a goal our entire district team has worked very hard to achieve.”

Frost said construction management completed renovation projects over the summer. Students at Northside Elementary School of the Arts experienced an expanded arts wing, new media center and bigger cafeteria, Frost said.

The district’s bus system successfully transported more than 8,000 students to and from school, with the last bus completing its route at 6:25 p.m., Frost said.

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