Making the Grade: Marion County presents mostly virtual reopening plan

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MARION, SC (WBTW) – Superintendent Dr. Kandace Bethea presented to the Marion County Board of Education the district’s plan for reopening school for the 2020-21 school year.

“This plan is the result of our administrative team working together to devise a plan that puts the safety of students, staff and community first as well as providing sound educational options for our children,” Bethea said.

Currently, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is monitoring Marion County as a high risk area.

Bethea said it is for this reason that all students will receive instruction virtually with a combination of live and recorded lessons using digital resources.

Students will have an onsite Learn, Evaluate, Analyze, Prepare (LEAP) week at the end of each month allowing each student to come to their school one to two days for an instructional check-in and/or assessments. Learning packets will also be available as needed.

Traditional 4K and Montessori will be virtual as well but will include options for onsite days as needed.

The district is also offering families the option to apply to a Virtual Academy. This will be for students who are not ready to return to the traditional environment so they can engage in daily online learning. Application to the program does ask for a year-long commitment.

Bethea also announced that for now, the official start day for the district will be September 8.

Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade will also participate in a LEAP program from August 26 – September 1. This program is required face-to-face and funded through the General Assembly.

Students will be invited to attend either one or two days during the week to administer required assessments.

“Our Safe Start Guide is meant to be fluid,” Bethea said. “As the metrics from SC-DHEC show a safer environment then the district will move to hybrid model.”

If a hybrid model is later put into place, student attendance will rotate on an A/B type schedule.

This will allow students multiple face-to-face days with a FLEX day each week for teachers to provide interventions and additional support.

The hybrid model will not include the students enrolled in the Virtual Academy. Once the SC-DHEC metrics show a low spread then a more traditional model will be implemented that will include movement restrictions.

Final plans are subject to approval by the South Carolina Department of Education.

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