Marion County School District releases reopening plan

Marion County School District releases reopening plan
Yellow school bus (Source: WALB)

MARION, SC (WMBF) - The Marion County School District announced its plan to reopen schools in the fall, which includes an emphasis on virtual learning.

The district said a plan presented by superintendent Dr. Kandace Bethea states all students will receive instruction virtually once classes begin on Sept. 8. Officials said the latest metrics from the Department of Health and Environmental Control rate Marion County as a high-risk area for COVID-19.

The virtual classes will consist of live and recorded lessons using “digital curricula and resources,” according to the district.

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The district also said students will have a LEAP week at the end of each month, allowing students to come back to school for one-to-two days to check in with teachers.

Officials said learning packets will also be available as needed.

Students in Pre-K through eighth grade will participate in a LEAP program beginning Aug. 26, which requires face-to-face learning. The district said this program is funded by the General Assembly and will end on Sept. 1.

4K and Montessori schools will also be virtual, but will include options for face-to-face learning as needed.

The district is also offering parents the option to enroll students in a Virtual Academy, but applications do require a year-long commitment.

Bethea also said as numbers from DHEC show a safer environment, the district will move into a hybrid model, where attendance will rotate on an A/B-type schedule.

Students will also be allowed a flex day each week for teachers to provide additional support. Virtual Academy students would be exempt from this model.

Officials said once DHEC metrics represent an even lower spread of COVID-19, then a more traditional model for learning will be included and include movement restrictions.

Final plans are subject to approval by the South Carolina Department of Education.

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