School districts roll out at-home learning plans

State education leaders ask that testing be suspended

School districts roll out at-home learning plans

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - School officials across the Midlands have spent the last few days preparing lesson plans for online and at-home learning.

Their goal is to make sure learning doesn’t stop just because schools are closed. Some school systems in the midlands are utilizing e-learning, while others are having to distribute paper packets with take-home work for students.

At Richland Two, school leaders said planning for the next two weeks is still a very fluid situation. They added that they did not have an e-learning plan in place, and they are having to both create it and roll it out at the same time. Elementary students in that school district will receive instructional packets that they can either download at home or the school district will provide paper copies that families can pick up at schools. The district is also working to organize bus routes, where those packets can be dropped off to families who can’t get to school to pick them up.

At Lexington Two, teachers have prepared 10 days worth of instruction. Since the school district is one of 15 e-learning pilot programs in the state, every student has a tablet for online learning. "With the timing, we did not send home e-learning devices, so that has really been our challenge, but we feel like once students have their devices in their hands and their packets, we'll be good to go," said Dr. Dixon Brooks, chief instructional officer for Lexington Two. Brooks said his biggest concern about at-home learning is making sure students keep up with the work each day and don't fall behind.

To help relieve some of the burden on students and teachers, State Superintendent Molly Spearman has sent a letter to the United States Department of Education on Tuesday asking that all federally required testing be suspended.

Michelle Garrett, a Richland Two mom, said this is a relief.

"That just removes one extra thing off of our list, so now we can just focus on our kids and the anxieties that they have with all that’s going on as well and just making sure they’re learning the daily lessons that they need to learn," Garrett explained.

Lexington Two students will begin their e-learning on Wednesday and Richland Two students are expected to start their work on Thursday. Officials with the State Department of Education said they are doing all they can to seek flexibility from the General Assembly and federal government to ensure students can still graduate on time and have the instruction they need to succeed.

Richland Two is also in the process of building an e-learning page on their website. You can access that site here: https://www.richland2.org/coronavirus.

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