Darlington County School District approves Sept. 8 start date

Pee Dee

UPDATE: Darlington County School board voted unanimously in favor of the proposal to start school September 8.

This will be face-to-face instruction, if possible, and there will also be a virtual academy for those who would be more comfortable with that.

Many safety measures will be in place for the students who go to school face-to-face, including masks, social distancing and ramped up cleaning efforts.

The superintendent’s recommendation to start students Sept. 8 was a departure from past considerations to begin before the originally slated Aug. 17 start date.

“Two weeks ago I would’ve been fine starting earlier,” he said. “Trying to get the LEAP days out of the way. Lets see our kids. Lets see face to face. But the data has changed.”

He referenced some sad developments that came over the weekend in the Palmetto State’s COVID crisis.

“The fact that we’ve had our first pediatric death in the state of South Carolina, that bothers me,” he said.

“The fact that we’ve had  our first diagnosis of the Kawasaki type of disease that is a spin off from COVID, that bothers me.”

The virtual academy will be for anyone who would like to sign up, the superintendent said. He suggested registration begin soon so the district can see what the interest level is and allocate the appropriate staffing. Certain teachers will be assigned to teach only online.

Some educators gathered outside before the meeting to express their concerns with reopening schools.

“We understand that socially distancing six feet apart the way children will need to be distanced just is not possible,” Robin Bowman said. “And children will get sick. Teachers will get sick.”

Dr. Newman said the district is following data and guidelines when it comes to the reopening.

DARLINGTON CO, SC (WBTW) – Darlington County teachers say their voices were not heard in the back-to-school decision making process.

The teachers plan a drive-in rally at 5 p.m. Monday, an hour before the district’s school board meeting, to get their voices heard. The board will meet to discuss the district’s plans to reopen schools.

“Help us get our voices heard by filling the parking lot,” organizers wrote in a social media post. “Our voices were not considered in the decision-making process.” Those who plan to attend are encouraged to bring signs, wear red, wear a mask and practice social distancing. 

Count on News13 to bring you coverage of this rally and the school board meeting.

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