Aiken County parents are mixed on district decision for in-person learning

Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:31 PM EST
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - As new COVID-19 cases trend down in Aiken County, kids will go back to in-person learning five days a week starting Monday.

The Aiken County School Board met Tuesday for the first time since that decision to go back to full in-person classes.

The superintendent says the district has a plan to keep students and teachers safe. But what do parents think about the move?

For some, it’s a feeling of nervousness, but for others, it’s a feeling of relief.

“My son actually raised both his hands and shouted. For a 16-year-old kid to be wanting to go back to school...That should tell you how frustrated he is.”

For Andrew McCaskill, being a single dad during the pandemic has its own challenges.

“The parents...We work full time, and we don’t get to work from home. I’ve not stopped working during the pandemic,” McCaskill said.

And trying to be his son’s teacher just isn’t working.

“My son is doing pre-calculus... It’s just been an absolute disaster,” he said.

McCaskill’s son is also in the culinary trade school, which makes school from home almost impossible.

But now, Aiken County public schools will see almost 19,000 students walk through the doors on Monday morning for face-to-face learning.

“It just been stressful and a lot of ups and downs. Like a lot of ups and downs,” McCaskill said.

It’s why Jessica Bland had to quit her job to help teach her fifth-grade daughter.

“I’m fortunate that I was able to, but a lot of people don’t get that luxury,” she said.

In a statement, the district says in-person learning is needed now more than ever.

A report by the CDC says schools can successfully have in-person learning with social distancing, hand washing, sanitizing, and mask-wearing.

It’s something McCaskill says should’ve happened long ago.

“We’ve got kids so far behind, it’s not even funny,” he said.

And as for teacher vaccines, they are currently surveying everyone in the district and say Aiken Regional Medical Center will handle those vaccinations once they’re scheduled.

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