2 Upstate school districts among only 6 with back-to-school plans approved by state

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SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – So far, only six school districts across the state have had their final back-to-school plans approved by South Carolina’s Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. That includes two districts in the Upstate.

Hallways lined with social distancing markers and hand-washing reminders, and students wearing masks and learning in smaller groups, while sitting further apart in the classroom: that is what school will look like in Spartanburg District Two, and it’s a plan that’s been given the green light by the state’s Department of Education.

“For us, it felt like ‘You are serving the community in a really good way. You are serving your students and your teachers. You’ve come up with plans that give families options, that give kids quality education options, and that provide safety options for your staff, your faculty and the kids that are coming to school.’ So, it felt really good to see that,” Adrian Acosta, with Spartanburg District 2, said.

For elementary school students in District 2 who aren’t enrolled in the virtual academy, they’ll come back to school on a staggered schedule for the first two weeks and then they’ll enter what’s called a family model.

“That will be where kids are going to be really contained to their classroom,” Acosta said. “They’re going to move as a unit–that’s why we call it a family–they’re going to be a tight-knit family. They’re going to move together and do activities together, and that’s going to limit their exposure to other students and, hopefully, that will be a measure that will keep everyone safe.”

For middle-schoolers and high-schoolers, they’ll be utilizing a hybrid model where they’ll attend school two days a week and then do virtual learning the other three days.

“A lot of thought has gone into this and a lot of input has been taken in,” Acosta said.

While Spartanburg District 2 is one of just six districts across the state whose back-to-school plans have been accepted by Molly Spearman, other school districts in our area told 7 News they feel confident they’re next.

Spartanburg District 7 sent us the following statement:

“We are optimistic based on the plans that have been approved thus far. Our district 7 families have been flexible, positive and supportive as we all work together to best support our children.”

District 1 officials said they asked for an extension and were granted one, so they just submitted their final plans last Thursday, but they told 7 News those plans are a lot like District 2’s.

“We feel that our plan very similarly aligns with the things that they presented and had approved, and so we feel very confident about our plan,” Sandra Williams, with Spartanburg District 1, said.

7 News reached out to Superintendent Molly Spearman’s office to see when they expect for all of the districts’ plans to be approved. They told us it depends on the quality and level of detail in the plans as they have specific requirements that must be met.

Those requirements include offering both a virtual and face-to-face option, a time frame to review operational plans to move towards full five day face-to-face instruction model, and the establishment of how high quality instruction and a broad range of student services will be provided.

To date, the SCDE has received 73 reopening plans and is awaiting plans from eight districts who were granted extensions.

Besides Spartanburg District 2, Anderson District 5 was another one here in the Upstate whose plans were given the green light.

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