State says ‘instruction will continue’ as public school closures are extended

Coronavirus

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – South Carolina public school buildings will remain closed throughout the remainder of the academic year, the governor and state superintendent announced Wednesday.

Governor McMaster was joined by South Carolina State Superintendent Molly Spearman to make the announcement in a news conference Wednesday morning.

“Our buildings will not open for the rest of the year, but instruction will continue to go on,” Spearman said.

Instruction will continue at home through the final day of school for all districts, generally on an e-learning format.

Spearman and McMaster encouraged districts to come up with ways to celebrate graduations.

“Seniors I’ve heard from you,” Spearman said. “I’ve gotten so very articulate begs and pleas to let us have graduation.”

The state also plans to give flexibility to districts for the final two weeks of the school year. Schools may have the option to host parent-teacher conferences, coordinate text book drop offs, among other things. A task force will be formed in the coming days to plan students’ eventual return to classroom, which Spearman expressed intent to happen in August.

“We’re going to have to really look at this and maybe make some significant changes on how we have been the regular school day,” Spearman said. “I’m not prepared to say what those would be a this point.”

Florence One Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said he appreciated the state’s involving local districts in the decision.

“I think the governor made the right decision,” Dr. O’Malley said. “I really applaud the governor. I think he spent the past week or so if not more really asking people their thoughts and opinions and trying to really come to a good decision.”

O’Malley said Florence One has been prepared for a while to go the e-learning route.

“Florence One was way ahead in providing the e-learning opportunities long before this pandemic started,” Dr. O’Malley said.

McMaster said he will file the executive order for the closure next week. Count on News13 for updates.

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