SC governor wants parents to have choice: virtual learning or face-to-face learning

South Carolina Speaker of the House Jay Lucas and Gov. Henry McMaster spoke on the need for kids to return to schools.
South Carolina Speaker of the House Jay Lucas and Gov. Henry McMaster spoke on the need for kids to return to schools.(WRDW)
Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 10:14 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WRDW/WAGT) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is pressing local school districts to help parents have choices as the fall semester gets closer and the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

But McMaster is pushing for local districts to either choose between returning to school five days a week or go to a full virtual education model.

“Parents need to have a choice,” McMaster said. “They need to say to their districts, whether they want to go with their children, go in class five days a week, or whether they want a virtual education at home. It must be their choice.”


LIVE NOW: SC Gov. Henry McMaster speaking on reopening state schools amid a spike of COVID-19.

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McMaster has also told Education Superintendent Molly Spearman to not approve any district plans that do not include this choice.

At last check, South Carolina had 60,220 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 984 deaths -- one of those deaths over the weekend was a pediatric patient.

McMaster has repeatedly said schools would be open come the fall. Most recently, McMaster said it was important to reopen them for many reasons outside of education.

“There are a lot of discussions going on about that right now, and it is important that the schools be open for a variety of reasons,” McMaster said. “It’s not healthy for the children to be out of school -- for emotional reasons as I mentioned, some percentage have -- way too many -- that during this closing period we’ve lost contact with.”

McMaster reiterated many of those points Wednesday, pushing for students to be able to return safely.

“Children have also lost valuable learning progress due to schools being closed. We know that typically over the summer, things that students learn they lose by the time they come back to school where you can imagine under current situations how difficult it is and how that is being exacerbated,” McMaster said. “We want our educational momentum to continue, and to accelerate, and that means we have to get the children back in the schools.”

Superintendent Spearman was absent from the news conference but issued a statement saying that the state didn’t need to turn a “blind eye” to the health of students and staff members.

“School leaders, in consultation with public health experts, are best positioned to determine how in-person operations should be carried out to fit the needs of their local communities. I remain committed to supporting them in this endeavor and will only approve those plans that offer high-quality options and keep safety as their top priority,” Spearman said.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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