FSD3 board members express anger toward state leaders after school reopening plan denied

FSD3 board members express anger toward state leaders after school reopening plan denied

FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Florence School District 3 officials announced Thursday that the district’s reopening plan was denied by the state department of education.

Superintendent Laura Hickson said the district was required to allow an option for face-to-face learning.

“Based on the state department’s criteria we are required to provide a virtual option and in-person option for all students,” Hickson said.

FSD3′s original plan called for only virtual instruction during the fall. At the end of the fall semester, the district planned to make a decision on whether to allow face-to-face instruction in the spring.

FSD3 called a board of trustees meeting where Hickson presented a hybrid face-to-face model.

The plan proposed a start date of Sep. 8 where high school and middle school students will alternate class days, with complete virtual learning on Friday.

Elementary age students will go to class five days a week as the district felt their schools have more instructional assistance and the younger students studies could be better monitored by teachers.

Board members expressed their displeasure with the state’s decision to deny their virtual-only plan.

“If anybody dies in this school district it is on Molly Spearman and Henry McMaster. The way they’ve demanded we do this and not have the authority to decide what we should do in this school district,” said Board Vice-Chairperson Julia Mims.

Before the board voted on the proposed plan, Hickson, shared a message with the parents and students of FSD3.

“I can assure and I want parents to know this, we can assure you we’ll do our part to protect our kids and our staff, and to our board members, thank you, because I appreciate the fact that I know you care about children,” said Hickson.

The board voted to approve the face-to-face hybrid model and it will be resubmitted to the state board of education.

FSD3 is also planning a virtual town hall for parents, scheduled for Aug. 5.

The announcement comes the same day as a reopening plan for schools in Darlington County was approved by state officials.

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