SAFER AT SCHOOL: Superintendent cites new CDC guidelines, pushes for return to classrooms

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - State Superintendent Molly Spearman said Wednesday in an education committee meeting, that when it comes to COVID-19, statistically speaking, students and staff are safer in school.

“Three-percent of the cases were school people (and) we are 20% of the population,” Spearman said. “You’re better off to be at school than you are going to church, going to the grocery store.”

Spearman pointed to the fact that inside schools, it’s easier to regulate rules like wearing masks and social distancing.

“Generally, (virus) transmission is happening somewhere else, not at school,” Spearman claimed. “There may be a few cases, but overall it’s safe.”

New CDC guidelines back Spearman’s point, noting that COVID transmission was 37% lower inside schools than it was in the surrounding community.

“We need to manage by the data, the data says it’s safe,” she added.

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Spearman, who was not always in favor of a full return to in-person learning, said she wanted to be sure it was safe before making the call.

“School is safe,” Spearman said Wednesday. “It took a while for us to be sure of that.”

The superintendent added that there is still a lot of fear about the virus within South Carolina communities, but she hopes to build back trust so all students can return to the classroom.

She also outlined a plan for public education with the South Carolina House Ways and Means Committee, requesting a 2% pay raise for teachers, a 5% raise for school bus drivers, and a full-time nurse in every school.

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