School districts respond to governor’s push for in-person, virtual learning options this fall

School districts respond to governor’s push for in-person, virtual learning options this fall
Gov. Henry McMaster said he has ordered state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman not to approve any district plan that doesn’t give parents the choice to send their children to school for face-to-face instruction. (Source: Live 5/Live 5/File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - School districts in the Lowcountry must submit fall plans that will give parents the option to send their children back to the classroom for in-person learning five days a week, Gov. Henry McMaster said Wednesday.

In some cases, that means Lowcountry school districts must reconsider their fall plans.

McMaster said the Berkeley County School District is one of several already planning for both in-person and virtual learning options.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Charleston County School District said the district is planning for in-person and virtual learning options, consistent with Gov. Henry McMaster’s announcement Wednesday that school districts statewide must give parents the option to send their children to school for five-day in-person learning this fall.

Dr. Gerrita Postlewait released this statement in response to the push:

CCSD’s administration and board have been working diligently on a plan to safely reopen schools this fall, working with state and local health experts, a broad-based local task force, as well as principals and teachers.

The CCSD Safe Restart plan is on the upcoming Board of Trustees’ meeting agenda for discussion Monday, July 20. The plan includes in-person and virtual options and delays the start date.

I am confident that our Board will make the best decision possible to ensure that the academic, health, and safety needs of our students and staff in Charleston are the top priorities when we reopen.

But the Colleton County School District’s task force just recommended Tuesday night reopening schools on Sept. 8 with an all-virtual learning model.

Colleton County School District spokesman Sean Gruber said the board of trustees will review McMaster’s recommendations during their next regularly scheduled board meeting, which will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m.

McMaster: ‘We must give parents the choice'

McMaster made the announcement at the Statehouse in Columbia, saying that if parents want to send their child back to school, they should be able to do so with confidence.

“The only thing that we are asking these districts to do today is to give the parents, the choice,” McMaster said. “The parents are looking to our schools, the parents pay taxes for the schools the Constitution provides for schools. We must see that the children have these schools available.”

McMaster also said he asked South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman not to approve any district plan that doesn’t give parents the choice to send their children to school for face-to-face instruction.

He also said school districts should consider selecting the date of Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day, as a reopening date.

“This will allow plenty of time for the school districts to complete their plans,” he said. “We cannot restrict learning by forcing students to participate in remote learning. When many of our students in rural parts of the state have no access to internet at home to begin with. As you know, we are working diligently on a broadband plan to extend that around the state, but it’s not done, yet.”

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