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SC Superintendent Approves 6 Reopening Plans, Requires Masks On Buses

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South Carolina Superintendent of Education (SCDE) Molly Spearman announced that six school districts’ reopening plans have been approved as of Monday and that the state will require face masks to be worn by students and staff on buses this fall.

As of Monday, the following school districts have been approved (from SCDE’s website):

Allendale County School District
Official Start Date: Aug. 31, 2020
Options Offered:

  • Hybrid model with two days face to face instruction (all students)
  • Fully Virtual (all students)

District Reopening Plan: Allendale County Schools 2020-2021 School Reopening Plan

Anderson School District Five
Official Start Date: Aug. 24, 2020
Options Offered:

  • Five day face to face instruction (all students)
  • Fully Virtual (all students)

District Reopening Plan: RE-STAVRT Plan

Berkeley County School District
Official Start Date: Aug. 24, 2020
Options Offered:

  • Five day face to face instruction (all students)
  • Blended online (all students)
  • Fully Virtual (all students)

District Reopening Plan: Berkeley County School District Student Empowered Learning Pathways

Saluda County Schools
Official Start Date: Aug. 31, 2020
Options Offered:

  • Hybrid model with two days face to face instruction (all students)
  • Fully Virtual (all students)

District Reopening Plan: Saluda County Schools

Spartanburg County School District Two
Official Start Date: August 17, 2020
Options Offered:

  • K-5: first 2 weeks of school, staggered hybrid start schedule. Beginning the week of August 31, elementary students will come to school 5 days a week on the Family Model.
  • 6-12: Hybrid model with two days face to face instruction

District Reopening Plan: Spartanburg County School District Two Return 2 Learn

Clover School District (York Two)
Official Start Date: Aug. 17, 2020
Options Offered:

  • K-5: first 2 weeks of school hybrid schedule. Beginning September 14, elementary students will come to school 5 days a week on the Family Model.
  • 6-12: Hybrid model with two days face to face instruction
  • Fully Virtual (all students)

District Reopening Plan: CSD Reopening Plan

In the news release, Spearman’s office said that Clover and Spartanburg Two are “offering elementary parents five day, face to face instruction through their phased in ‘Family Model’ that includes enhanced safety protocols and keeping students together in cohorts to mitigate the spread of disease.”

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Berkeley County gives parents a choice between a “traditional five day, face to face instruction option, a “blended distance” option that incorporates online learning platforms with live stream learning experiences, and a self-paced virtual option utilizing pre-made online courses such as those offered by VirtualSC,” the news release said.

“Allendale and Saluda County Schools have both hybrid and fully virtual options with strong communication procedures with students and families to ensure they stay on track,” the news release said. “Both districts have inclusive frameworks on how they will serve special populations such as students with disabilities and English language learners.”

Anderson Five has also been approved. Its plan offers “in-person instruction five days a week as well as the option of enrolling in the district’s new virtual academy that will be staffed by district teachers who will provide virtual support throughout the school day for students who choose to learn from home.”

In total, 73 school districts have submitted reopening plans to Spearman, while eight districts were given deadline extensions.

In order to receive approval, districts must meet criteria put in place by SCDE, including:

  • “offering both a virtual and face to face option
  • a time frame to review operational plans to move towards full five day face-to-face instruction model
  • and the establishment of how high quality instruction and a broad range of student services will be provided. “

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RELATED: Richland One To Begin School Year Virtually — Despite McMaster’s Request

The SCDE release said that this year’s virtual learning experience will differ from the spring.

“Unlike the emergency remote learning that was required during COVID-19 school closures, students participating in virtual options will have a daily instructional schedule, receive frequent teacher feedback, and face high standards for earning passing grades,” the release said. “The large number of South Carolina families choosing a 100% virtual option has enabled districts to safely offer face to face instruction with added precautions despite the high spread of COVID-19 in many communities.”

S.C. public schools have been closed since March 16, when there were only 26 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state. Now, there are over 84,000.

Earlier this month, Gov. Henry McMaster asked that South Carolina school districts give parents an option to choose between in-person, five-day schooling or continue virtual learning for their children this fall — and he strongly encouraged in-person learning.

“There is nothing more important we can do than educate the children of South Carolina,” McMaster said, stressing that virtual learning isn’t stacking up to in-classroom education. “We must take every step at our disposal to get teachers and students back in the classroom.”

Spearman did not attend that press conference.

On Monday, SCDE’s news release said officials will strongly encourage masks in schools, but will will require them for students, drivers and staff on buses. This, combined with other mitigation tactics, will allow districts to increase ridership capacity up to 67%,” the release said.

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