COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS/NBC News) – South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman says she expects to announce a decision later this week about the rest of the school year that has been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview Monday morning, Spearman said distance learning has worked well overall for most students.
She admits, though, that it has been difficult and stressful at times for parents, teachers and students.
Spearman said there are concerns about special needs students being out of the classroom.
“We’re particularly concerned about our special needs students. There are some students who need to be getting one-on-one instruction. There’s families who need to come and meet in individual education plan meetings — the IEP, as we call them,” she said. “So, we’re looking at how best to handle that.”
She said it’s important for all students to keep up with their assignments and said students need to do their work because they won’t get a grade automatically just because they’re out of school.
“We recently surveyed all of the district superintendents in the state, and I’ll tell you that overwhelmingly, they said they don’t think it’s in our best interest to go back to school,” she said. “The average size of our schools in South Carolina is about 700 students. We have some very small schools, particularly some very small charter schools, but generally about 700. They go up to as high as Wando High School that has over 4,000 students. On a school bus, you have 75, 78 students on a bus, so it’s almost impossible to do good social distancing. So, we certainly understand that, and all of that is being taken into consideration, and I believe that a very good decision will be made and will be announced this week.”
She went on to say, “We’re taking into consideration all students, but again, I will commit to you that the governor and I both understand the severity of this, and we are weighing that risk to come back in for just a few weeks, so I hope you’ll trust us and know that a good decision will be announced this week.”