Schools & COVID-19
EDITORIAL: A good job by District 56.
Governor Henry McMaster says now that he would prefer it if School Districts would re-open on Sept. 8. This came two days after District 56 laid out a comprehensive plan to restart on Aug. 24. So, teachers - again - have to rely on the old reliable, “Monitor And Adjust.”
Putting all the posturing by state officials aside, we just want to give a pat on the back to District 56. The information they rolled out after the July 13th School Board meeting was outstanding.
You could tell it has been in-development for a while. Officials said they had gotten good feedback through Open 56, an on-line portal for comments. Did they answer every single question? Of course not, these are novel times for everyone. How can they absolutely foresee everything that’s going to happen in an already unpredictable 2020-2021 school year.
Will teachers have to use their own, personal sick days if they are quarantined for COVID-19 exposure? We presume this is more a question for state officials, than the local personnel office. Reports are there is something in the works for that - “Virus Forgiveness” or something like it.
Lots of districts are planning a virtual-only start to the school year and, boy, did the governor throw them into panic mode. Gov. McMaster says all schools WIIL BE OPEN for full, 5-days-per-week, in-building instruction by Sept. 8. In-School AND Virtual - that’s high bar for districts of poverty. But, you know what, Districts 56 and 55 have it covered — the Laurens County Virtual Academy. Whoever set that up deserves a nomination for The Henry Laurens Award (it’s the highest honor that Laurens County Government can bestow upon a Citizen).
Schools are going to look and be so much different in August or September - District 56 students will not go to the water fountains, for instance. There might have to be out-of-doors, mask-removal breaks. But the planning and listening here, from everything we have been able to determine, has been outstanding. The first batch of information presented at and from the July 13 meeting “answered every question I had,” according to one District 56 parent.
That information targeted August 24 as the first date that students, teachers and staff will return to District 56 schools. Now the governor has put a second date, Sept. 8, into play. As far as we can tell, District 56’s Plan works for either date. They’ve even been able to eliminate “snow days.”
But after all that planning, there will come a time when things just have to happen. We feel we are well-suited in the Clinton-Joanna-Cross Hill Schools of rural South Carolina to make that return-to-school happen.