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DD2 virtual learning based on individual school’s COVID-19 numbers

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 11:58 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 12:39 PM EST
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - In a special-called meeting Friday morning, the Dorchester District Two school board gave their blessing to allow the superintendent to move specific schools, grades or teams to virtual learning when necessary.

According to superintendent Joseph Pye, Friday’s meeting was a way to inform parents and the community of the district’s plan going forward when it comes to handling COVID-19.

They want to avoid moving the entire district to virtual learning at all costs, so they plan to handle switching to virtual learning on a case-by-case basis.

According to Pye, if 30 percent of students and staff in a team, grade, or school are out because of Covid-19 or other reasons, they would then switch them to virtual learning.

Pye says he did not want to call a special meeting every single time a school or grade needed to switch to virtual learning, so Friday’s meeting was a way to all him to make decisions about schools as he would in other emergency situations.

According to district officials, this all stems from the rapidly rising number of Covid-19 cases in the community, as well as the toll that teachers and staff at schools in the district are facing.

Several principals who spoke during Friday’s meeting say they have administrators and guidance counselors covering classes, Spanish teachers covering AP Calculus classes and multiple classes being held at the same time in the library. All of the principals shared that their staff is burnt out and that student safety and quality of learning is being jeopardized.

According to the superintendent, that 30 percent guideline- when 30 percent of students and staff are out of school--is something that is used only as a loose guideline but not a firm rule.

“We want [parents] to know that’s how we’re looking at it,” he said. “Just because it’s 30, we may call it. There are many other things. It could be a school that’s at 25 or 28, but it could be the size of the school, the amount of help they have. It could be a severe issue with operating the school, and that’s why we have to do it.”

There is one school that the superintendent says will be moving to virtual learning next week, but he did not announce which one at this meeting. Pye says he wants all parents to learn about the switch to virtual learning at the same time.

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