Colleton County school district officials concerned after COVID-19 surge

Colleton County school district officials concerned after COVID-19 surge

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - Colleton County School District officials have new concerns after learning about a surge in COVID-19 cases in the county.

County government officials say in the last month, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county increased by 361 percent. They blame the increase on people gathering in large groups, not practicing social distancing and not wearing masks in public.

A task force has already recommended that Colleton County students start the school year on Sept. 8 with only virtual learning. That recommendation was approved by the county school board.

But on Wednesday, Gov. Henry McMaster ordered all school districts, including Colleton County, to give parents the option of face to face or virtual learning.

That mandate is not being well received by parents and teachers.

Colleton County School District Assistant Superintendent Cliff Warren says the district understands concerns about going back to the classroom.

“I think everybody’s thinking well being, not just for our staff but for our students,” Warren said Thursday. “We want to make sure everybody’s safe.”

The district recently surveyed parents and teachers for their thoughts on how to start the school year.

About 44 percent of parents surveyed want virtual learning, just under 30 percent want a mix of in person and virtual learning, and a little more than 26 percent want all in-person instruction.

Of teachers surveyed, a little more than 38 percent want virtual instruction, a little more than 32 percent want face to face instruction and just under 30 percent have no preference.

Warren says the goal is to keep everyone safe.

“Right now there’s a lot of uncertainty and it’s hard to make sure that we’re assuring people that they’re gonna be safe and that they’re gonna be all right,” Warren said. " So we understand their concerns.”

The school board will meet Tuesday night at 6 p.m. to discuss the options for the new school year.

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