SC for ED calls mandate to include in-person option in reopening plans ‘a purely political move’

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Updated: Jul. 30, 2020 at 11:47 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On Thursday, SC for Ed released a statement reacting to Superintendent Molly Spearman’s requirement for districts to include “an in-person option for all students.”

According to the statement, Spearman sent out a memo to school districts on July 17 requiring school reopening plans to include the option allowing students to receive instruction at schools. SC for Ed later noted that the decision made by Spearman “put some districts in an untenable position, dangerously close to the start of many school calendars, of either following the recommendations of experts, or hastily drafting new plans to offer at least one day of face-to-face instruction per week, regardless of disease activity.”

“We can see no sound scientific, public health, or educational reason for Superintendent Spearman’s position and without a public statement by the Superintendent, we must conclude that this is a purely political move that endangers the lives of students, teachers, and at-risk staff,” the statement said.

On July 15, Governor Henry McMaster said parents should have the choice to send their children to school five days a week or to have their children learn through virtual instruction.

“It must be their choice, but we must have our schools available,” he said in the July 14 news conference at the State House.

On Thursday, 25 reopening plans from school districts in the state were approved by the State Department of Education. Nine of those districts are in the Midlands.

In order for a reopening plan to be approved, one of the four criteria it must meet is including an in-person option for all students.

However, SC for Ed recently polled several school staff members and found more than 40% of those who participated in their survey have a heightened risk of being infected by COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions.

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