COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Students in School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties could be returning to school in person, Tuesday, Sept. 08 for the first day of school. It’s one of two options being offered.
Originally, the district had announced plans to offer five days of face-to-face instruction in addition to an all virtual model. Near the end of the July, that plan changed. Now, families can choose between a hybrid model of two days in person, and three days online each week. The all virtual option is still available, as well.
District leaders say the decision not to offer five days of in-person instruction came after they say COVID-19 data did not support this model. The district is now hoping to begin five days of face-to-face instruction after October 8.
One School District Five parent, Regina Duke, says she was hesitant to send her daughter to school every day of the week because she has asthma, but also says she values face-to-face instruction.
“I’m a little nervous just because of her own health issues and knowing that she needs that one-on-one, also. That’s the reason why I chose the hybrid model,” said Duke who added that, “I don’t want any setbacks for her. I don’t want to take my own nervousness about, oh will she not be able to succeed? Will I be able to help her? If she’s staying at home, will I be able to give her that one-on-one that she needs when it comes to her speech, her reading?”
Duke tells WIS-TV that her daughter is part of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), and because of the hybrid option, her daughter will still be able to get the one-on-one instruction she needs.
The district has created multiple online videos to help explain plans for the 2020-2021 school year.
A mask mandate is being enforced through the South Carolina Department of Education for every school in the state with several exceptions outlined.
Duke’s eight-year-old daughter, Mak’Kayla, is a third grader who says she kind of likes wearing her mask and that she’s looking forward to starting the new school year.
“Kind of fun, yeah it’s kind of good so you don’t make other people sick or you don’t get sick. I’m kind of excited, but it’s kind of weird, though,” said Mak’Kayla.
Her mom says, “She keeps her mask on. She has about six or seven masks that she picked out the material for and I got other people to make her masks. So, she has been doing that very comfortably.”
Duke also says she’s confident the district is taking all the necessary precautions to keep students and staff safe.