CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School Board approved a final plan Friday to allow more students to return to classrooms for in-person instruction.
The decision was made just days before schools reopen on Sept. 8, and it could mean more teachers will be required to return to classrooms, too.
Almost 5,000 more students, who are currently on a wait list for face to face learning as of Aug. 28, will now be allowed back in their classrooms in Charleston County.
The Charleston County School superintendent says the district is trying to be as flexible as possible as COVID cases in the community decrease and more parents feel comfortable with their children returning to school.
“We are not asking you to send your child back if you’re not comfortable with that and if you arrive at school and you find out there are more children in the classroom than you thought would be there and you want to switch to remote learning we will work with you to do that. that’s part of what has generated this tremendous criticism of our district,” Dr. Gerrita Postlewait said.
She believes the district’s responsive attitude has put pressure on educators who may now be required to return as well.
“We are at a point where we have no high spread in our schools. We’ve spent $19 million trying to make sure we’ve taken every safety precaution possible, and we need teachers to teach students in person and we need teachers to teach them virtually,” Postlewait said.
The school board approved a new plan that may limit teachers’ choices though.
The plan suggests teachers who are uncomfortable returning for in-person instruction in their classrooms talk to the district’s human resources department about some extended family or medical leave options.
“In a handful of our schools, we have more teachers wishing to teach virtually than we can support as we bring those students from virtual to in-person, so but there are going to have to be some difficult conversations,” Postlewait said. “We care deeply about teachers and we will do everything we can to support them. if they have a new baby at home or an elderly parent if they have a circumstance that warrants special consideration, we absolutely will take that under consideration.”