Charleston Co. parents may not learn if their child can return until within a week of school’s start

VIDEO: Charleston parents may not know if child has spot in classroom until week before school

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County parents who want their children back in the classroom next month may not know if that’s possible until a week before school starts.

Chief Academic Officer Karolyn Belcher made the statement Wednesday during a live YouTube event in which parents and students could ask questions about the upcoming school year.

“It will be at least a week prior to the opening of school before we can confirm everything,” Belcher said. “We don’t want to over promise and under deliver.”

The school district is set to reopen its classrooms on Sept. 8 to some of its students if certain conditions are met. Officials are closely monitoring the county’s two-week COVID trend rate, incidence rate, and positive rate.

During the event, parents and students had the opportunity to ask their questions in a live chat, and one that kept popping up was what happens if more students want to return than is safely allowed.

“We’ll prioritize students based on objective criteria,” Belcher said. But, she didn’t elaborate on what that criteria is and how they’ll choose which students can come back and which ones have to learn virtually until it’s safe to return.

“Right now, we don’t anticipate we’ll get close to our safe building capacity given the information we got off the parent information form that went out this past week,” Belcher said. “However, hopefully over time as it gets safer, more students will come back. More will feel comfortable, and as we approach that we may have to revisit a hybrid schedule, but we’re not there yet.”

According to that recent survey of county parents, 64% of those that responded want some version of in-person instruction, whether that’s full-time or temporary. 35% preferred virtual instruction.

Another round of surveys are now going out to parents from their child’s school. There will be three options: in-person, temporary virtual, or long-term virtual.

The hour-long event can be watched here, and near the end of it, Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait emphasized that school will restart on Sept. 8. “regardless.”

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