Colleton County preparing for some teachers’ return to the classroom

VIDEO: Colleton County preparing for some teachers’ return to the classroom

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) -The Colleton County School District is taking the next steps in preparing for its new reopening plan, which includes an in-person option for students.

Parents will now have an option to choose a fully virtual start to the school year for their child, or a "blended" model which consists of three virtual learning days and two days of face-to-face instruction.

As the school district works to get a parent choice survey, they are also working on sending out a similar survey for teachers.

While many were expecting a full virtual start to the school year, there are teachers who will have to return to the classroom. Some of them are concerned about having face-to-face instruction.

William Smyly is a teacher at Colleton County High School and an area representative for SC for ED. He says he's worried about staff and students with this new model.

"My concerns personally are individuals with pre-existing conditions and of course just general how is this going to run when people inevitably start getting sick,"Smyly said. "More than anything else, I'm also concerned for the safety of our students. Our students are the most prized assets of our community."

Some teachers are frustrated with the lack of answers to their questions. They say this is happening because of a confusing state-mandate and not necessarily because of the school district.

For Bria Burke-Koskela, a teacher and another area representative for SC for ED, her lesson plans will be very different under a new hybrid model.

"Now that I know that I'm going to be teaching a hybrid of in-person and virtual at the same time, I'm probably going to have to adopt a lot of my lesson plans based on that just because I don't know how much engagement I can get from students if I can't be within 6 feet of them," Burke-Koskela said.

Both teachers say they understand that this decision wasn't something that the school board wanted to make, but they hope the school district will take their concerns seriously.

District officials say they are listening and will take into consideration the teachers who may not want to work in the school environment.

"We feel the frustration and we feel the uncertainty going on because we feel it ourselves and we're going through that as well, but we want to assure them that we're going to put a plan together that's going to work for everybody," said Cliff Warren, assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and Operations for the Colleton County School District."We just need to have patience and need to have understanding that this is fluid and things are going to change."

CCSD will be hosting a virtual public forum through Youtube Live on Monday, Aug. 10 starting at 3 p.m, to answer questions about their reopening plan.

Anyone with questions about school reopening can send them to publicinput@colleton.k12.sc.us

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