COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – A South Carolina teacher’s group has some harsh words for the state’s superintendent after she made a last-minute change to school reopening plans.
SC for Ed posted a letter on its social media pages, addressing Superintendent Molly Spearman’s memo to school districts. In the memo on July 17, it required that school district reopening plans should include an in-person option for all students.
“While districts could have reasonably interpreted this somewhat vague language as meaning the in-person learning could occur at a time when the disease activity in a district had reached a safe level… new guidance from the Superintendent has apparently clarified that this ‘in-person option’ must take place every week in order for plans to be approved,” the letter stated.
The teacher groups said this puts many districts in a dangerous position where they’re hastily putting together new plans that offer face-to-face instruction at least one day a week, no matter what is going on with coronavirus cases.
They also said this memo contradicts the guidance from Spearman’s AccelerateED task force which states that if COVID-19 cases are high in the school district then students and staff will be unable to return to class and should rely on a full distance learning schedule.
“We can see no sound scientific, public health, or educational reason for Superintendent Spearman’s position, and without a public statement by the Superintendent, we must conclude that this is a purely political move that endangers the lives of students, teachers and at-risk staff,” the went on to say.
The group brought up Gov. Henry McMaster’s recommendation that the state Department of Education should reject any plant that does not include a five-day a week face-to-face instruction, which the superintendent disagreed with. They said that while the governor’s recommendation was radical, they call the superintendent’s memo ‘unforgivable.’
“While the Governor’s earlier position was more radical, in some ways Spearman’s actions are even more unforgivable, since they will have a real and immediate effect on students and school staff,” the letter stated.