KERSHAW COUNTY, S.C. — School has been in session for a week now in Kershaw County. Since the first day, the district has reported over 130 cases of COVID-19 among students and staff.
“We’d rather just be home with our kids and that’s it. That way we know they’re safe when they’re home," one Kershaw County parent told News 19.
Another suggested that “maybe if they could probably wear masks, maybe that might help.”
As cases rise in Kershaw County schools, parents are worried about quarantines and safety.
For Bashir and Rabena, enrolling their kids in virtual academy was the best option for them.
“All you need is for one kid to get sick and then the whole school or whole classroom or whole bus gets sick, and I was sick right when COVID started so I don’t want my children to get sick,” Rabena said.
"Maybe they could have implemented something along the lines of a COVID test before returning," suggested parent Brandy Gunter. "So that way, all those students who came in with COVID weren't able to be around the other students until they were clear.”
Gunter wishes students were tested before the first day of school to help limit spread. Her biggest concern is forcing her kids to go back to virtual learning if schools shut down again.
“I know that it would be very damaging not only for my son his senior year, but my daughter with her honors and AP classes. When we went virtual at the beginning of COVID, she really struggled to try to keep up with the rigorous coursework," Gunter explained.
Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins told News 19 schools are trying to reduce the spread by keeping students in pods, social distancing, and not allowing outside visitors.
"Our mitigating strategies are still proving to be very effective," said Robbins. "The one thing that we're keeping a watchful eye on, is how many of these quarantine cases are leading to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, and right now that's extremely low, it's less than 10 at this point.”
But for some parents, not requiring masks is a deal breaker. “You can’t regulate the classrooms, the cafeteria, the gym, and they're not wearing masks,” Bashir and Rabena said.
Robbins explained that if cases keep rising, the district may have specific classrooms or schools with the highest percentage of cases go virtual, but he hopes that doesn’t have to happen.
The superintendent said “we’re taking all that data and all that information and we’re trying to make daily decisions on what's going to be in the best interest of our community.”
The district is planning a vaccination and testing clinic for some time next week.