COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Gov. Henry McMaster announced Wednesday morning that he has directed South Carolina school districts to submit their plans for reopening, which must include giving parents a choice of either five-day in-person instruction at school or virtual learning, by this Friday.
During the news conference, McMaster said South Carolina schools should also consider selecting Sept. 8 as the date to reopen for school, which he said will allow districts to complete plans and allow for the districts to communicate with parents.
According to the governor, $60 million in CARES Act funds are available for districts to use to ensure classrooms are safe.
McMaster said they are aware that students in rural parts of the state have no access to internet, but said they are working on a broadband plan.
During the news conference, the governor said in-person instruction was important for a variety of reasons, including students falling behind academically and dropping off the radar because they are not coming to school each day, as well as child abuse and neglect complaints not being recorded due to children not being at school to alert teachers or authorities.
South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman issued a statement Wednesday in regard to schools reopening:
“Every South Carolina parent must be afforded the option to choose virtual learning or a face to face model for their child this school year. The pandemic has shown the vital importance of our public education system and the broad range of services beyond teaching it provides for our students every day. Our goal must be a return to five day a week in person instruction as safely and as soon as possible.
We cannot, however turn a blind eye to the health and safety of our students and staff when the spread of the virus in some of our communities is among the highest in the world. 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.”– Molly Spearman, State Superintendent of Education