NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – News 2 participated in a Today Show town hall focused on the biggest issues facing the new school year and the concerns that are being raised by both parents and teachers.
Today’s ‘Coronavirus and the Classroom’ Town Hall featured Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona.
News 2 was outside Chicora Elementary School in North Charleston, one of eight schools within the Charleston County School District that has already faced a shift to virtual learning this school year due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, for a question directed at Dr. Cardona.
The question was asked by Egypt Stokes, a senior at Military Magnet Academy, which is still learning face-to-face.
“How would the school system provide instruction to students in both virtual, dual and in-person learning without overworking or burning out our teachers,” asked Stokes. “And how would that impact seniors, like me, who are applying to college?”
“We found last year that the conditions for education students in virtual or hybrid weren’t ideal, and we have the tools to make sure that we can get students in the classroom safely and without interruption,” answered Dr. Cardona. “I’m disappointed to hear that there are disruptions already in your community. These are preventable if we follow the mitigations strategies.”
Dr. Cardona said we should be able to keep students safely in school and provide an alternative for students who are quarantined using different staff. “The American Rescue Plan provided the funds; we have to make sure we are doing that because all students deserve an opportunity to learn in the classroom and have uninterrupted attention from their teacher.”
So far, there have been more than 1,400 cases of COVID-19 involving both students and teachers in the CCSD community since the start of the 2021-22 school year.
While there is a mask mandate for CCSD, it cannot be enforced because of state law which prevents state money from being used for things like mask mandates.