Charleston Co. schools may switch to hybrid model if in-person doesn’t work

VIDEO: Charleston County schools may switch to hybrid model if in person doesn’t work

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Superintendent Dr. Gerrita Postlewait told the Mount Pleasant Education Committee Monday that schools may switch to hybrid schedules if the district’s in-person plan doesn’t work.

Right now, the district is set to welcome back about 25% of its students in person on Sept. 8 with the others set to learn from home. Postlewait said Monday, as she has said before, if COVID-19 trends continue to go down, all students who want to return should be able to by Sept. 21.

“The objective was trying to get as many students as possible five days a week. That may not work, and we may have to back up and go back to a hybrid,” Postlewait said.

The hybrid model, which was long considered an option for parents, was replaced earlier this month with the idea of bringing back a quarter of students five days a week instead of all students a few days a week.

After enrollment closed, 30 of the district’s 87 schools had more parents wanting their kids to return than the school district could safely allow. In those instances, principals used objective criteria and a lottery system to decide who could return and who would start the year virtually.

Josh Patlett, a parent of two, spoke during public comment after both of his kids were told they would not be allowed to return in person on the first day of school.

“Our children deserve better from you,” he said. “Our children need to be back in the classroom on Sept. 8.”

His comments were met with applause from several parents in the crowd, some of whom also took to the microphone. After their comments, Postlewait and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Borowy gave a presentation to council members who then followed up with their own questions.

“You asked if principals have been involved with the conversations every step of the way, and the answer is no,” Postlewait said. “Sometimes they have and sometimes they haven’t.”

Postlewait then addressed questions surrounding the hybrid option.

“We may end up going to an AB or ABC schedule, but the concern is it’s not as instructionally sound as five days a week if we can pull off five days a week,” she said.

Council Member Jake Rambo then asked what happens if the district welcomes back all its students in person and the county’s case numbers rise.

“Once we open up, you don’t go backwards on the chart. Once a school is open and your child is in, COVID-19 cases are considered by a classroom by classroom, wing by wing, and school by school basis,” Postlewait said. “So, there’s no reverting back to phase one. Once you’re in phase two, you’re in phase two. Once you’re in phase three, you’re in phase three.”

Schools are open all of this week for LEAP days and set to officially reopen on Sept. 8, the first day of school.

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