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Colleton County, DD4 transitioning to virtual learning

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:26 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:43 PM EST
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Colleton County School District will be switching to virtual instruction for all students until at least Jan. 20. District officials will continue to assess the situation and decide if an extension will be necessary.

“Here in the last week or so, we’ve had schools that had more than half of their staff that had been positive,” Colleton County School District Board Member William Bowman Jr. said.

Superintendent Dr. Vallerie Cave said they’ve done everything possible to make sure kids got quality instruction despite the rise in covid-19 cases, and district office staff and principals even stepped up to teach while they dealt with positive cases in teachers.

“Our staff was testing positive, the spread was going in a rampage around our schools, and when you can’t provide instruction you have to make those decisions,” Cave said.

Cave says desk shields that they previously took away will probably be coming back. They will also make some changes in terms of social distancing. She says coronavirus spread happens when kids move around the school, so they may bring teachers that teach arts, music, and PE to the classrooms instead of having students travel to them.

Dorchester School District Four is also going virtual until at least Jan. 20. The district’s director of exceptional children, Monica Tudder, said they had a 50 percent increase in covid numbers this week.

“We have so many staff members out in our buildings that in order to provide supervision, because finding subs is also very difficult, in order to provide supervision you’re having to consider lumping multiple classes together,” Tudder said.

Tudder said DD4 staff was “surprised” just how bad the omicron surge has been.

“You don’t have education if you don’t have health and safety,” Tudder said.

Dr. Gerald Harmon, the president of the American Medical Association, said they’ve seen an “incredible” number of illness and hospital admissions in school aged children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, COVID-19 cases among children have reached the highest case count ever reported since the start of the pandemic.

“Children are being infected and being affected causing school districts to make decisions,” Dr. Harmon said. “All of the school districts have to be very creative in our state in working ways to still have in person learning.”

Dr. Harmon says vaccination is a way to keep kids safe.

“Children can get sick. I’ve taken care of sick children. They can get really sick,” Dr. Harmon said. “If you can protect them against a potentially serious disease, I would recommend getting a vaccine for ‘em.”

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