WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCBD) – School is back in session at the Colleton County School District, but parents have some concerns about new changes this year.
“I’m just wondering when things are going to be able to change for everybody to get a fair education,” said CCSD parent, Jenny Bumgarner.
Bumgarner’s third grader is being taught by a virtual teacher this year, until the position is filled. The district said they have 295 teachers, but they’re still working to fill vacancies.
According to the superintendent, they’ve hired a company to help with the shortage by supplying teachers who appear in the class virtually.
“The virtual part is concerning to me because we have some classes that are in person, you know one-on-one teachers and stuff, but we have all of these other virtual for the same class, you know grade level. So, how does my child qualify for virtual versus having a live teacher?” asked Bumgarner.
Bumgarner isn’t the only one skeptical about the virtual learning. Other parents and even their students have concerns.
“My kids have a very big voice about it. They don’t like it because I mean when we had COVID and they had to do virtual it was very hard for them to do it,” said Angela Gaiter, a parent of three CCSD students.
The district’s new dress code is also facing pushback from parents. Shirts, sweaters, and crew neck sweatshirts must be solid white or approved colors. Pants are to be solid khaki, black, or navy. Demin jeans without holes and rips are also permitted. Cargo-style pants or shorts will not be allowed.
This made for an expensive shopping trip for Gaiter.
“I spent, it was close to $1000 dollars. And I did not, honestly, I didn’t have it,” Gaiter said. “But, I mean what else am I supposed to do?”
Interim Superintendent Jessica Williams was not available for an interview on Wednesday, but she did release the following statement on the virtual teachers.
“The Colleton County School District has contracted several fully-credentialed virtual teachers on a temporary basis to fulfill the immediate staffing needs across the various school buildings. The decision to assign virtual teachers was made out of necessity in response to the teacher shortages plaguing school districts throughout the United States. The Colleton County School District remains committed to recruiting and hiring in-person teachers to fill every classroom. In the interim, classrooms with virtual teachers are being supported through the assistance of in-person instructional aides.”
News 2 interviewed Superintendent Williams a few days ago about the new school year, you can find that story here.