Governor McMaster signs law requiring in-person learning, benefits for teachers

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Governor Henry McMaster signed a new law (S.704) to require all school districts in the state to offer in-person learning 5 days a week; as well as other benefits for teachers.

“The best place for children to be is in the classroom,” says McMaster.

Most of the state’s school districts were already offering in-person learning 5 days a week. One of the last districts to submit their in-person plan on Thursday was Colleton County.

State Superintendent Molly Spearman says virtual learning will still be available to all students.

“It’s important to note that districts may continue for those families who still wish to have their children at home virtually that they may continue to do that,” says Spearman.

Some teachers are wondering why this in-person learning requirement was necessary with less than 50 days until the end of the school year. Steve Nuzum, a teacher and advocate with SC for Ed, says there are more important issues to worry about.

“The idea that 1.) We aren’t back 5 days face-to-face because we have been for months and 2.) We need to pass a law to make sure that we do it is honestly just silly. It’s a waste of time,” says Nuzum.

Nuzum says in his experience he’s seen students both struggle and thrive in a virtual learning environment. He thinks virtual learning may not be the greatest fit for all teachers, but is an excellent tool for school districts to have in their back pockets.

“Some of my students have really flourished in this environment — like this is what they were built for. And some of them never do their work and never show up because they need an in-person class and it just depends on the student,” says Nuzum.

This law also adds a requirement for school districts to increase pay teachers who are balancing in-person and virtual learning and increases the salary cap for retired teachers to $50,000.

Nuzum says these 2 parts of the new law is where we should be applauding state lawmakers.

“Those things are huge. If we keep doing things like that, we’re going to actually improve our school system,” he says.

This law will go into effect on Monday, April 26th.

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