Spartanburg school district forms task force, prepares for new school year

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SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – School is set to begin in about six weeks and one Spartanburg County school district has created a task force to determine what the upcoming school year will look like.

“This year, there’s been no down time at all,” Melissa Robinette with Spartanburg School District 5 said. “We ended school and then the focus immediately became ‘What is 2020-21 going to look like?'”

It’s a question those in Spartanburg District 5 have been working diligently to answer since schools were shut down back in March and students were forced to learn from home.

“School might not look normal for quite some time,” Robinette said.

Because of the pandemic, Spartanburg District 5 has created a task force, focusing on operations, student services, and instruction; and they’re following the state’s recommendations as they plan for a new school year.

“This is something that we’ve never faced before,” Robinette said. “It is like we are chasing a moving target and that target is changing every day–if not several times a day.”

Right now, as far as what a school day in District 5 will look like, she said there are three possible options.

The first option would be “traditional,” which would mean the normal in-person instruction five days a week.

The second option would be “remote,” which means students would continue the at-home learning they did at the end of this past school year.

And the third option would be a hybrid of the two, which means some learning would happen at home and some would take place in the classroom.

Robinette said it will all depend on the virus and what medical professionals suggest.

“We are going to do our very best to have some kind of balance of some in-person instruction, but also keeping that safety at the forefront,” she said.

And the district already has some safety measures in mind.

“That will include social distancing in the classroom. It will include sanitizing stations and frequent cleaning of classroom areas, and Plexiglas shields that we’ve already ordered for front office areas, and we’re looking at certain classroom situations as well,” Robinette said.

District officials say teachers and staff may also be asked to wear masks for in-person instruction for added safety.

For parents who are concerned that their children may be falling behind, Robinette told 7 News that summer school is an option, and there could be five extra days at the beginning of the school year that would be used as an assessment period to see what your child needs.

“We are working hard, and we need them to partner with us and be patient and know that we’re going to do what’s best and safest for their students,” Robinette said.

The district plans to send out surveys to parents later this week to get their input on school starting back and what they’d like to see.

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