Dorchester District 2 School Board discusses hybrid learning, mask policy

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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Dorchester School District 2’s recent announcement to move students into a hybrid model has sparked a number of opinions within the community. Tonight, board members wanted to set the record straight.

Protestors gathered outside the meeting location with signs pleading the board to “stick to the plan” and “protect our students.” These concerns began with talk on social media about potentially re-negotiating the hybrid plan.

“Some board members have put it out there that they want to re-negotiate that plan and force us into a 5-day in-person instruction before DHEC has deemed it safe and deemed us a low-spread,” says Matthew Neal, a teacher at Fort Dorchester High School.

Neal says that the hybrid model has been widely accepted among his colleagues, parents and community members. Many of the protestors were concerned that the school board would change their mind in tonight’s meeting.

“A lot of us are concerned if we go back 5 days in-person. My largest class is 30 and I’ve got a 25 by 25 space. So, I’m going to have students right on top of each other and it’s not going to be safe for them,” says Neal.

A majority of the school board members took a moment to voice their opinions on the plan and how they wish to move forward. Board member Gail Hughes says she has listened to countless community members over the last few months.

“Not a day that goes by that we have 50 to 100 to 200 e-mails, and texts, and phone calls that come in…and they’re not nice,” she says.

No decision was made to change the hybrid model plan. Students are still expected to return to the classroom 2 days a week starting September 21st.

“This is a data-driven decision and we are planning to stick with the plan and move forward and as things go and get better we will get back to normality and what we want; the kids in the classroom,” says Hughes.

The board also voted on a temporary policy to regulate face mask usage as students return to school. The policy passed first reading and will be voted on again next week.

For more details on DD2’s reopening plan including the hybrid model; click here.

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