Supt. Molly Spearman urges school districts to offer more face-to-face instruction


SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – State Superintendent Molly Spearman is urging more school districts to provide face-to-face instruction as soon as possible.

7 News spoke to one local school district about their plans.

“It’s been a beautiful thing. When August 17th arrived, we could see students coming in buses, in cars, and kids on the playgrounds,” Jennifer Turner, with Spartanburg School District 4, said.

Those in Spartanburg School District 4 said there’s nothing they love more than getting to see their students in person.

That’s why they were happy when South Carolina’s Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said she’s going to be pushing for more in-class learning sooner rather than later.

“We are in total agreement,” Turner said. ‘We want our children back. We want them on our campuses. We want full campuses every single day.”

That’s because, the district said, there are obstacles with virtual learning.

In rural areas, students are having issues with internet access, and there are other students who simply learn better in the classroom.

“We have some families who are struggling to get assignments done online,” Turner said.

And there are perks with in-class learning.

“You get the zest of what education is all about,” Turner said. “You get the face-to-face, you get the relationships that you can build.”

Right now, 16 out of 81 school districts in the state are offering full-on face-to-face learning five days a week.

14 districts are fully virtual while 49–including Spartanburg School District 4–are on a hybrid schedule.

In a virtual meeting with the South Carolina Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, Superintendent Spearman said she’s pushing for these districts to switch to more face-to-face instruction as quickly as possible–especially districts with low numbers of positive COVID cases.

“If you get down to less than 5% positivity rate, then they ought to be going five days a week,” Spearman said.

“That’s the end goal for all of us,” Turner said. “We want kids all playing together, all learning at the same time inside of the classroom.”

Right now, Spartanburg District 4 plans to extend their hybrid model through September 25, but they said they’re hoping for in-class learning soon after.

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