Northside Elementary students to be schooled elsewhere in district

Northside Elementary students to be schooled elsewhere in district
Source: WCSC (Bio-hazard crews at Northside)
Source: WCSC (Bio-hazard crews at Northside)

WALTERBORO, SC (WCSC) - Colleton County School district leaders shared details about a temporary plan to get some of their students back in the classroom Tuesday night.

A meeting between district leaders and parents was held at Colleton County High School.

Starting Thursday, January 14, children who go to Northside Elementary School in Walterboro will head back to school, but in different areas of the district.

Northside has been closed for a week after officials returned from the holidays and found evidence of visible mold in areas of the building.

"I was surprised," said Northside Elementary School parent Tammie Youmans, "But over a period of time things do get old."

Youmans said she understands the severity of the situation going on at her son's school.

"My son is asthmatic, and has respiratory problems," she said early Tuesday afternoon. "I'm kind of worried about a lot of things at this point and not getting any answers."

Tuesday the school district gave parents some answers, updating them on the clean-up, air quality issues going on at the school, and plans to get their children back in class.

"There's a lot of empty schools in this area that they could be attending," Youmans said. "A cafeteria or something that can be sectioned off so these kids can get their work done, and not be out of school missing so many days. It's very important for their education."

Some of those rooms may not be empty for long.

In a statement released Monday, Superintendent Dr. Franklin Foster said students will be able to get their lessons in other places around the district starting Thursday.

"This change is needed to ensure that students are back in school and engaged in the learning process," the statement reads. "Dr. Foster understands that there is no ideal plan to address this matter; however, he feels that he and his staff have worked to develop the best plan based on available space and resources."

Informational packets handed out Tuesday's meeting show:

First graders and Ms. Rosalee's class will have class at Black Street Early Childhood Center. Second grade through fourth grade students and Ms. Ross' class will be at the Colleton Annex Learning Center. Fifth grade students and Ms. Vincent's class will have class at Forest Hills Elementary School.

One parent is concerned about how her daughter will get to her new temporary classroom.

"Are the buses going to be able to get the kids back and forth, because we have so many kids out here in this area," asked Shannon Simmons, another Northside parent. "They're gonna split them up into different elementary schools. My daughter, she's shy, and I don't know how she's going to accept going into another class."

The district packet states, "All regular bus routes will pick up and drop off students at their normal route stops. Students will be delivered and picked up at their designated locations."

While the district has been developing this temporary plan, bio-hazard crews are expected to be on site at the school for the coming days.

"I think right now they're doing an excellent job cleaning it out," Youmans said. "I know it's taking pretty long for them to get back in school, but they've got to do what they've got to do for the safety of the kids."

Originally the district planned for classes to be canceled all this week.

With the change in the schedule, leaders are asking for those parents who were not able to attend the meeting to look online or swing by the district office.

More information about schooling can be found here.

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