Hundreds sign petition to reopen Dorchester Co. schools full time

Updated: Sep. 25, 2020 at 6:13 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - More than 700 people have signed a petition asking the Dorchester District Two School Board to reopen its schools for five days of face-to-face instruction.

On Wednesday, school district officials announced they will continue their hybrid model until at least Oct. 19. They cited the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s findings that Dorchester County, as of this week, still has “medium recent disease activity."

In response, parents took to and created a petition titled “Send DD2 Children Back to School Full Time.”

“Most children have difficulty learning through technology without personal interaction with teachers and fellow students,” the petition stated. “Parents know what is best for their children and they should have the choice of whether they want to send their kids back to in-person learning or distance learning this school year."

In about 24 hours, the petition passed its original goal of 500 signatures. It’s new goal is 1,000. One of those who signed it is Justin Roberson who wants his three kids learning in a classroom every day.

“I’ve got a first grader, a second grader, and a kindergartener, and trying to teach them reading, writing, and arithmetic on a computer just doesn’t work for us," Roberson said. “It’s not fair to leave it up to parents to teach their kids. We pay taxes here. We pay taxes to get that service from the DD2 School District and not having a choice is not going to work for us.”

Parent Laurel Dangrow worries about her two children learning from home and hopes the school board reconsiders their plans.

“My 5-year-old is doing really well at it, my 8-year-old is struggling every single day," Dangrow said. "I feel like some children are being left behind by just the virtual or even in home schooling. It’s just not for everybody.”

Some parents still believe hybrid is the way to go with the current disease spread, and the school board has voted to stay the course. Their monitoring plan and reopening schedule can be found here.

“The goal of the school district is to have students return for face-to-face instruction in our classrooms as soon as possible while protecting the safety and health of students and staff," spokesperson Pat Raynor said.

The district looks at variables in making the decision on learning models based on DHEC’s report of disease activity as well as the State Department of Education’s guidelines on 60-percent capacity limit on school buses to allow social distancing along with the classroom capacities.

The school board is set to meet again Monday, Sept. 28 to discuss the models and reopening plans.

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