COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — This week, the South Carolina Senate passed a joint resolution that would require all school districts in the state to offer five days of in-person instruction.
According to South Carolina Department of Education, 54 school districts are offering full face to face instruction right now. Nearly all school districts have plans to transition to five days of in-person instruction by the end of the school year already.
The legislation Senators passed would require all school districts to offer this no later than April 12th.
Patrick Kelly is the Director of Government Affairs for the Palmetto State Teachers Association. He said, “At this point, teachers have had access to the vaccine. We have a lot of PPE in schools now. The CDC has updated their guidance based on research. And this is something many school districts have already started to do.”
Lawmakers also included a measure that would require districts to offer five days of in-person instruction next school year as well.
To help meet the needs of students, Senators added a proposal in the bill that would increase earning limits for retired teachers. Kelly said this would help incentive experienced teachers to return to the classroom.
He said, “One of the best ways to grow our instructional pool quickly is to be able to access our working retirees. This provision in the bill will let districts expend those federal relief dollars in one of the most effective tools available which is giving students one on one attention by a highly certified adult.”
There is also a proposal in the legislation currently that would prohibit districts to require teachers to teach face to face and online simultaneously. Kelly said this is much needed.
“We heard consistently from our members that dual modality instruction is the most challenging thing they’ve ever done. It was burning teachers out and driving them out of the classroom. And most significantly it was leading to lesser outcomes for our students,” Kelly said.
The bill is now headed to the House were more changes could be made and if it passed – the legislation will head to the Governor’s Desk for his signature.