COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On the heels of the Department of Education approving Richland Two’s plan to head back to school, the Board of Trustees met on Tuesday night to discuss the specifics on what the virtual classroom will look like when students return on August 31.
Richland Two officials presented the plan for Phase 1 of reopening. The plan includes two virtual options for students to choose from when heading back to school.
One option is a full year of virtual learning enrolled in the R2eSchool, and the other option is a virtual classroom in which students learn virtual lessons with their teacher before eventually heading back to the classroom for in-person learning.
During the meeting, a Richland Two teacher gave a demonstration of what a virtual lesson plan would look like, and how it would engage students remotely.
Dr. Marshalynn Franklin said there will be four parts to each virtual lesson, including an introduction video which reviews information learned during the previous lesson, a live lesson with the teacher and a small group of classmates, independent work after the lesson, and then a portion where students are asked to share with siblings or parents what they’ve learned.
“It organizes the learning into chunks, where some of the chunks of learning are synchronous, where students will be with a teacher directly online, and some of them are a-synchronous, which means that some of them will be activities that students complete on their own,” Dr. Franklin said.
Richland Two officials said this will be the setup until phase 2 begins, which is a hybrid schedule with students spending part of the week physically in the classroom and the other part of the week learning virtually.
“Many other school districts caved to political pressure and I appreciate the district held strong to our conviction that e-learning is the safest way to begin the year,” Board Trustee member Dr. James Manning said.
Superintendent Dr. Baron Davis said the Department of Education asked them to reevaluate their plan every 2 weeks to return to in-person learning as soon as possible.
“What we do want to do is put the safety of our students first, all students in the classroom,” Superintendent Davis said.
The board also voted to suspend a few policies once students do head back to the classroom, including their international foreign exchange student program and their school visitor’s policy. Dr. Davis says they will be releasing more information about what the restricted visitation policy will look like at schools at a later date.
Dr. Baron Davis also stressed that the free meal delivery program ended this week, but parents can still pick up free lunches at designated schools until school starts.