Back to class or staying home?

in Coronavirus/Schools by

School district asks parents to make tough decision as it readies reopening plan

From staff reports

Parents of the Beaufort County School District’s 22,000 students are being asked to decide if they want their children to stay at home and learn virtually or return to the classroom amid the COVID-19 pandemic as the district prepares to release its reopening plan on Friday, July 17.

The district’s online student registration system for the 2020-21 academic year is up and running.

Parents will be able to request virtual (online) or face-to-face learning when registering their children. Parents of returning students will receive their registration codes by e-mail, and parents of students new to the district will contact their children’s schools to obtain the online registration link.

“We know from two surveys that COVID-19 has caused many parents to have concerns about returning to normal face-to-face instruction, and online or “virtual” learning will be a good option for them,” Superintendent Frank Rodriguez said in a release. “Other parents are strongly in favor of resuming traditional classroom instruction with appropriate safety precautions in place based on guidance from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.”

Rodriguez encouraged parents to make their decisions as soon as possible.

“In order for principals to complete their reopening plans, they need to know exactly how many of their students will be learning online and how many will be riding buses and actually sitting in their classrooms,” Rodriguez said. “Parents who register now will help principals meet physical distancing requirements and other DHEC safety protocols for face-to-face instruction.

“Our reopening plan will have protocols that can be adjusted based on what’s currently happening with the virus,” Rodriguez said. “Science and facts will guide us, and our No. 1 goal will be to keep children and school district employees as safe as possible while also providing an excellent academic experience, whether that’s online or in person.”

If it were up to the state’s largest teachers association, there would not be a return to a traditional classroom setting in August.

According to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, the Palmetto Teachers Association joined the South Carolina Education Association and SC for ED, sending a letter to Gov. Henry McMaster and state Superintendent Molly Spearman on July 9 to voice their “grave concerns.” That letter can be found here:

“We firmly believe that the safety of students and staff has to be paramount, and with the growing spread of COVID-19, we aren’t at that point right now,” Director of Governmental Affairs with the Palmetto State Teachers Association Patrick Kelly told the Herald-Journal.