At a news conference this morning, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced called on all public school districts in the state to give parents the option to send students to school five days a week or provide a virtual education option.
“We must give parents the choice,” he said. “The only thing that we are asking these districts to do today is to give the parents, the choice. The parents are looking to our schools, the parents pay taxes for the schools the constitution provides for schools. We must see that the children have these schools available.”
If parents want to send their child back to school, they should be able to do so, “and to do so with confidence,” he said. McMaster also said he asked South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman not to approve any district plan that doesn’t give parents the choice to send their children to school for face-to-face instruction.
He also encouraged school districts to consider going back to school on September 8.
“This will allow plenty of time for the school districts to complete their plans,” he said. “We cannot restrict learning by forcing students to participate in remote learning. When many of our students in rural parts of the state have no access to internet at home to begin with. As you know, we are working diligently on a broadband plan to extend that around the state, but it’s not done, yet.”
He said there are more than 10,000 students who the state’s education department has not heard from since the pandemic began.
“Children have dropped off the radar, because they were not physically coming to school each day,” he said. “Children have also lost valuable learning progress, due to schools being closed.”
McMaster said he wants our educational momentum to continue and to accelerate. “And that means we have to get the children back in the schools,” he said.
“And we all have the same goal, and that is to protect and educate our children, we must reopen our economy,” McMaster said. “People must go to work, schools must have in class face to face teaching so these children do not fall behind. Ladies and gentlemen, if they fall behind, just in this one period, they may never catch up. And we may have a generation lost to their educational opportunities.”
“If I can wear one of these uncomfortable aggravations, I know you can, too,” he said. “You may ask me, ‘Why did you start wearing one of these masks, Harvey?' Let me tell you why. I asked doctors, after doctors, after doctors around the state, who had no political agenda, their opinion on wearing masks face covering, and the doctors, they told me that if you’re in a confined space or someone’s in your space, you need to wear coverings over your nose and mouth. So I’m asking you to do that.”
“When people ask me whether in-person schooling is safe during the coronavirus, I asked the same question each time, that if Will, my only son, were school age, would I let him go back this fall, given the numbers that I saw yesterday?” House Speaker Jay Lucas said. “And the answer is, I will, certainly.”
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