COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Multiple Midlands school districts are kicking off the school year beginning Monday, Aug. 24. Both the School District of Newberry County and the Orangeburg County School District are back in class.
In Orangeburg, they’re starting out the school year completely online. District leaders there say they’re hoping to transition to in-person classes by mid-September.
As for Monday, PreK-through-eighth grade will start the year virtually. High school students will join in on the online learning next week.
Over in Newberry County, parents had two options to choose from as they start out the year, this week. They could either choose total online learning, or a hybrid option where students will meet in person two days a week and take part in eLearning the remaining three days.
One mother we spoke with says the latter was the best option for her family, with two parents in the home who work full-time.
“I’m glad that they did bring in the hybrid option. I definitely was not comfortable with five days a week, face-to-face with full classroom,” said School District of Newberry County parent, Michele Neal.
The mother of two said, “Since, I’m working full-time, even though I’m from home, I wouldn’t have been able to dedicate watching over my second grader from eight-to-three, making sure that she’s logged in for classes and everything. I could definitely do it minimal times a week, but for five days a week I wouldn’t be able to still work and do the virtual school with her.”
Both school districts in Newberry and Orangeburg Counties are offering meal services for students with many of them staying home for at least the first part of the school year.
In Orangeburg County, every week that the district continues with eLearning meal services will be offered to every student.
Each day, Meal Services will prepare and serve 2 meals (breakfast and lunch) that can be picked up by parents/students in one of two ways:
- Drive thru option at each school location from 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or
- Delivery option via school buses to the nearest bus stop from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. (approximate delivery times will be available closer to Aug. 24)
Each meal will have to be connected to an enrolled student in Orangeburg County School District and will require the District to record the name of the student receiving the meal. Parents can pick up meals for their child without the child being present.
These options will be available each week that the District is in eLearning for all students, and no students are on school campuses.
Each week, the district will send out a new survey to plan for meals for the following week. Completing the survey should take approximately 3 minutes.
The School District of Newberry County provides breakfast to all students at no cost and will continue with these services even for students who are learning from home:
Students enrolled in Newberry One e-Learning can also choose to pick up breakfasts and lunch from the schools in which they are zoned. E-Learning students must order their meals by midnight on Sunday of each week and can pick up their meals at their zoned school on Wednesday, weekly, from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The order form is labeled Newberry One e-Learning Meal Order and is located on the district’s web page.
Newberry students who are reporting to school for in-person learning will be required to wear face coverings throughout the day with five minute breaks every 30 minutes. Neal said this was a controversial topic for many parents in the district, but also said that her second grader is already accustomed to wearing masks on a regular basis.
“She actually is in an all-star cheerleading team and they have to wear their masks for stunting and practices. So, it’s not a confusing or unaware time for her. She knows about mask protocol and why we wear them and definitely has a comfort level with them since she she’s them every day,” said Neal.
Neal laughed when she described the day that her family took her two-year-old son to his 2K orientation at the academy stating that “everyone had their masks on, except for the littles, and he (her son) looks at me he and goes ‘I want my mask, too”.
Neal said she’s confident that the district is doing its best to keep the kids safe and that’s why she felt comfortable sending her children back for some in-person instruction.