SC lawmakers join conversations on how to jump start 2020 school year

State News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – How the 2020 school year will look is still a question that state leaders, educators and district superintendents are trying to answer.

Task forces have been created at both the state and local level to come up with some suggestions and solutions to problems that have arisen as a result of coronavirus learning.

Summer reading camps, end-of-the-year assessments, and in-person learning are areas educators and school districts across the state want guidance.

Lawmakers and the state department of education met Wednesday to continue conversations on how to move students forward academically during this pandemic.

“For most, 30% of instructional time has been missed,” explained State Superintendent Molly Spearman.

During Wednesday’s meeting, members of the COVID-19 Public Education Committee heard what school districts need from lawmakers to catch students up.

“We need a lot of clarity on what is really essential to be learned a long the way. So if we have a 5th grader or 8th grader who has missed mathematics and we know there is no one at home to help them. What are the critical learnings they need so we can ensure their success,” said Dr. Gerrita Postlewait with Charleston County Schools.

The SC Dept. of Education wants students to have a formal academic assessment at the beginning of the school year. A social-emotional assessment will also be done.

Technology and internet issues were once again brought to the forefront.

Dr. Rose Wilder, the superintendent in Williamsburg County, recapped the situation there. “Should I say that 37-38% of our students do not have internet in their homes.”

SCDE is still working to answer the big question on everyone’s mind; how the 2020 school year will look.

Because of the different number of students and size of buildings in each district, that answer could vary.

Tim Waller outlined a possible situation for Greenville County students, โ€œSchedules to where 1/4 of the class would go to school on a certain day then another fourth on the next day and so forth.

Dr. Postlewait added,” Our priority is to look at the kids who are most vulnerable of falling behind or who were already falling behind.โ€

SCDE is also working with DHEC to develop a clear policy on a how a school would handle if a student or teacher were to become ill.

The department is currently working to finalize plans for summer reading camps. Superintendent Spearman is hoping to accommodate 30,000 students. 25,000 would have face to face instruction.The other 5000 would complete virtual learning.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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