MARION, S.C. (WBTW) — Community activists and concerned Marion County School District parents expressed their frustration with the district’s current Covid plan on Wednesday.

Many said they wish there was a mask mandate and better virtual options. Without them, the parents said they are worried.

“I watch the phone every day,” said Gwen McFarland, a parent. “I mean, not hear the phone, I will be watching the phone, scared that the high school is going to call and say you need to come to pick up your daughter because she tested positive. And it’s not just with my daughter, it’s with all of the kids that I’m concerned about.”

Currently, the district does not have a mask mandate but ‘strongly encourages’ everyone to wear one. And the district encourages everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine. Also, the district says it was approved for virtual learning, but the state caps that at 5% of the district’s student population.

Mcfarland has a daughter who attends Mullins High School and Virginia Ellerbe has five grandchildren in the school district. They are concerned with the district’s current 83 exposed students and 37 positive cases. You can find the Marion County School District Covid Dashboard here.

“The three who are in North Mullins are in Montessori classes so they are touching everything and they are playing with all of their classmates. How would you control that situation if someone in that class became positive?” Ellerbe asks.

Community activist Miko Pickett asks that everyone sign the petition to request a public hearing with the school board.

“Whether you have kids in school or not, because these kids come back home, the virus can spread within their families and it can end up at the Piggly Wiggly, it can end up at the Dollar General, it can end up in Wal-Mart, it can end up in your house,” Pickett says. “So, this is something that is a community thing that we all need to come around to make a change.”

Pickett says she will take the signatures to the district on Thursday, requesting a public hearing with the school board.

Count on News 13 for updates as we receive them.