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Teacher advocacy group urges SC schools districts to stick with virtual learning

SC for Ed says returning to face-to-face instruction is not a good idea as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the state.

SOUTH CAROLINA, USA — Members of the teacher advocacy group, SC for Ed, are urging school districts to remain with virtual learning until the spike of positive COVID-19 cases decreases. 

"A healthy teacher is the best teacher," said SC for Ed board member and teacher Nicole Walker. "If you want to maintain instruction, then the focus needs to be on keeping teachers healthy."

As of January 6th, DHEC reports than 5,927 COVID-19 cases among students and more than 2,173 cases among employees. Walker says the fear is students will be coming to school and not knowing if they have contracted the virus.

"We would like districts to understand asymptomatic spread can still have very real consequences to teachers in the classrooms," Walker said.

RELATED: How Governor McMaster wants to spend South Carolina's budget

News 19 reached out to several Midlands school districts to see if they plan to remain virtual or return to face-to face learning. 

The spokesperson for Richland Two tells us they plan to resume in-person instruction as part of its phase 2 reopening plan on January 19th. 

Lexington One plans for Pre-K through 6th-grade students to return to a four-plus one model. 7th and 8th grade students will shift from a hybrid model to the four-plus one model on the 19th, and high school students will remain in the hybrid model until further notice. 

SC for Ed is urging the governor and other state leaders to support the move to 100 percent virtual learning.

"There should not be a discussion in the Lowcountry of whether or not students wearing a mask," said Walker. "However, seeing that conversation still take place, and we're seeing teachers in parts of the Lowcountry be terrified of going to school because there are not masks mandates in place, even though it's supposed to be."

RELATED: SC Education Dept. supports school re-opening with additional $84 million