Berkeley County School District discusses plans to return to school, wants input from families

Berkeley County News
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Berkeley County School District is discussing plans for returning to school this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Superintendent Dr. Eddie Ingram gave a report to the school board on Tuesday.

He said the Berkeley County School District reopening task force, which is made up of teachers, parents, and students, will meet on July 8th from 1-5PM.

The school district is still collecting survey data from families. Dr. Ingram says it is very important to hear from high school students in that process.

Dr. Kelly Wulf, Berkeley County’s Chief Academic and Innovation Officer, presented three possible instructional models with regard to opening:

1. Traditional – basic classroom as it has been done traditionally.

2. Blended distant learning – Online learning with some interaction with live teachers. Things like live Google meets classes throughout the day. Live attendance taken during each individual class.

3. Virtual – similar program to what happened at the end of the 2020 school year. This would not always involve having a teacher face-to-face. The students would use a virtual program, but would not be in live classrooms all day.

If a family chooses the traditional model, the students will attend in person at their school. Blended distant learning students would be in a live stream of their full classes from the school.

All schools will be using protocols to keep schools cleaned as much as possible. Blended distant learning students would not be attending traditional classes. Only traditional classroom students will be attending in person classes.

There will not be a program available allowing students to attend some classes in person and others online. Each family will choose their path and stick to that.

District officials say feedback from families was used to determine that the three options announced are the three best options for the district.

Dr. Ingram said they will sanitize as much as possible and that is what they can do. He said they could not have some students at school one day and not at school on others. He also said the bus/transportation would not be able to accommodate separate A day/B day students/routes.

When it comes to social distancing, Dr. Ingram said there is no perfect solution.

“I think we have to do the very best we can,” he said. “Certainly, I think, giving parents all the options we can give them, it’s great. But truth be told, not every parent has a real option. We’ve got some parents who have got to go to work. I mean, they have got to get back to work and their kids have got to go to school. For some parents, quite frankly, it’s easier if they choose a virtual option.”

Dr. Ingram said the challenge is, “we need to get this plan in place some 20 days before school starts… so it needs to be done by the end of July.”

Right now, about 32% of parents are choosing the virtual options.

Dr. Ingram said they will do what they can do social distance, and wear masks where possible, but he acknowledged these are difficult questions, and things may change.

“We want to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.”

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