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Lexington-Richland Five parents sound off on five-day in-person classes

Parents spoke at a district board meeting on Monday night to give their input on whether they agree or not moving to a five-day in-person model.

IRMO, S.C. — Parents in Lexington-Richland School District 5 wanting 5-day a week face-to-face learning made their case to the school board Monday night.

Before the meeting, parents gathered outside Irmo High School late Monday afternoon to show their support for in-person learning five-days a week.

Previously, the district announced plans for a five-day in-person model. The school district then reversed course and decided to have both a hybrid model and a virtual to start the year.

RELATED: Lex-Rich 5 switches to hybrid model to start school year

Jennifer Valek, who has two children in the district, helped organized the gathering.

"Our forum has been about five-days face-to-face," said Valek. "I'm personally all about doing whatever safety precautions we have to do in order to do that. Both my children said, 'I'll go all day long wearing a mask if it means I can be physically in school."

"You've got contact sports and football, volleyball ... Lowe's, Home Depot, Walmart are wide open and people are walking around. So why shouldn't these kids go back to school October the 8th, five-days a week," asked Todd Howell who's a parent of a student at Chapin Intermediate School. "I understand doing the trial period and the two-day hybrid but it's time to lead and time to change."

At the school board meeting, parents were given the opportunity to give their opinions on the topic.

Many parents talked about how their children learn better in an in-person setting rather than online, while others said the current hybrid model is the way to go.

"What cannot be fixed is the loss of a mother, a father, a grandparent or a sibling. We can go back and fix attendance records for connectivity issues, but we cannot bring a child's mother back," said one parent at the meeting. "Hybrid is the only responsible face-to-face path right now."

"You're going to ruin our children's lives, seriously hurt children over this nonsense? Come on. This is crazy," said another parent. "There's a whole bunch of moms out there, that if you guys don't send our kids back to school, are going to flipping losing their minds and you guys are going to have to deal with it."

RELATED: Lexington-Richland Five shares protocols for COVID-19 cases

The purpose of the meeting on Monday was to allow public input. No decision was made about starting five-day in-person learning on October 8th. 

The school board did, however, pass a motion instructing the superintendent to work to have five-day in-person learning on October 8th, or whenever she feels it's safe to do so.

"School District Five values and appreciates the input of our community as we navigate the unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 has presented," Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton said. "As a district, the hybrid model option was designed as a temporary, transitional model. Our commitment has been to return to five-day instruction, as soon as possible, with a focus on safety, security and compliance with local and state guidelines."

The next board meeting will be September 28th.

RELATED: All SC students to have free breakfast and lunch through the end of the year