Lowcountry families, state leaders react to school closures to battle coronavirus spread

VIDEO: Parents, students respond to school closures

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Starting Monday, hundreds of public and private schools from Pre-K to colleges across the Lowcountry will be closed temporarily to halt the spread of COVID-19.

After the announcement, families and state leaders are responding to the new reality of remote learning.

Michelle Hoban has two children attending James Island High School. She said the closures are giving her a sense of relief in keeping her family safe from the virus.

“I’m honestly surprised they didn’t do it sooner,” Hoban said. “I think they should be home for at least a few weeks until this resolves.”

During a state-wide press conference, Gov. Henry McMaster and other state leaders touched on a number of resources being made available for students.

That includes daily meals for students who rely on school lunches and equipping thousands of school busses to deliver learning materials to homes across the state.

The South Carolina superintendent said teachers will still be paid.

State representative Lin Bennett said although increasing security measures state-wide may come with a learning curve, she’s optimistic they will help curb the spread of COVID-19.

“It will be difficult. It won’t be easy but I think we’re resilient,” Bennett said. “I think we’re a strong nation with strong people and I think we’ll make it through this just fine.”

In the tri-county, school districts and colleges are preparing online learning courses.

“It all so happen so fast so we’re all trying to figure out what it’s going to look like how are still going to do online school,” Becca Bowers, Senior at Palmetto Christian Academy, said. “Senior prom, senior trips, all that kind of stuff is all at a halt right now.”

Will Pickren, Senior at Wando High School said he expected the closures as teachers prepared ahead of time.

“Everyone in the school was already talking about it. We all got our Google classrooms set up,” Pickren said. “I think Wando handled it really well because it’s tough to manage because no one really knows what’s really happening.”

For parents, some say the closures are a true test of the state’s capacity for remote learning in emergency situations.

“I think we will look back on this and it will be a learning lesson for how we do this,” parent John Gilmer said.

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