CHARLESTON, S.C. (WDBD)- Local leaders are speaking out after Governor Henry McMaster’s press conference on Wednesday. Many are in disagreement with his decision to require both in-person and virtual learning in all school districts this fall.
Governor McMaster’s main reasoning behind his decision is that face-to-face learning creates better outcomes for students. That said, some lawmakers are saying it’s still too dangerous for children to go back to school so soon.
“No one is questioning the benefits of in-person learning versus virtual learning–that’s not the question. The question very simple; is it safe for us to go back to school? And if so, how will we do it?,” says Representative Marvin Pendarvis.
In addition, Representative Wendell Gilliard believes that the state needs to listen more closely to healthcare experts.
“We’re in what we would call the 12th hour. When you have experts telling you–the doctors–when it comes back to letting our kids back to school we should follow their expertise,” says Gilliard.
Some lawmakers are concerned that the issue has been politicized. Both Gilliard and Pendarvis stress the importance of keeping COVID-19 out of the state’s politics.
“This is not about a party,” says Gilliard. “Whether it be Democrat or Republican, this is following science; believing in the experts. We should never circumvent that when it comes to dealing with people’s lives.”
Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler released a statement saying, “Getting students back on track academically, and eventually back to school, is a top priority— but not at the expense of lives.”
Moving forward, these leaders hope that the state will take a step back and speak with experts before formulating a plan for the state to return to school safely.