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S.C. schools could be required to offer in-person learning option

Some school districts that have planned to start the school year virtually could be forced to offer parents an in-person option for at least one day a week.
Some school districts that have planned to start the school year virtually could be forced to offer parents an in-person option for at least one day a week.(WIS)
Published: Jul. 28, 2020 at 8:11 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Some school districts that have planned to start the school year virtually could be forced to offer parents an in-person option for at least one day a week.

The South Carolina Department of Education sent a letter to superintendents on July 17, which was the original date school plans were due. That letter states in-person learning must be an option for districts’ plans to be approved.

Right now, plans already submitted by several counties only include virtual options to start the school year.

Each school plans to move to in-person learning over time, but that letter from the Department of Education states that in-person, even a hybrid or blended model, must be an option in order to be approved.

This new mandate from the Department of Education goes against DHEC’s advice, but it also goes against the Gov. Henry McMaster’s request that all schools offer an option for five days of in-person instruction. Even if schools offer in-person instruction, families can still choose a virtual option.

A statement sent Monday by the Department of Education says, “The large number of South Carolina families choosing a 100% virtual option has enabled districts to safely offer face to face instruction with added precautions, despite the high spread of COVID-19 in many communities.”

However, this is not something districts are prepared to do. “That is conflicting information, and many school districts are not prepared on the first day to have any face to face option. The large number that has to be looked at district by district and county by county, so to take an aggregate number of people and say because a large number of parents asked for virtual than we should be able to offer face to face safely,” said Davis.

The Department of Education says plans are being reviewed and approved on a case by case basis. They add that no plans have been rejected, but if the requirements are not met, it will take additional discussion with the district in order for approval.

More plans are expected to be approved Wednesday.

Copyright 2020 WIS. All rights reserved.

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