COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman doesn't agree with Gov. Henry McMaster on at least one aspect of his plan to reopen schools.
McMaster announced Wednesday that every school must open to in-person instruction for five days a week when classes resume. Spearman, in charge of South Carolina schools, was not at that briefing, although several other lawmakers were.
A spokesperson for her later confirmed that she disagrees with the five day directive and chose not to attend the news conference.
"The Governor is asking for every school to return five days face to face," the spokesperson said. "The Superintendent is asking for every parent to be afforded the option to choose virtual learning or a face to face model for their child this school year with school leaders, in consultation with public health experts, determining how in-person operations should be carried out to fit the needs of their local communities."
The spokesperson said she does agree that parents need both an in-person and virtual option.
McMaster said districts should consider pushing the start date for schools back to September 8, which is after Labor Day, so they can have plenty of time to implement their plan. That includes coming up with schedules for pickup times.
“Every South Carolina parent must be afforded the option to choose virtual learning or a face to face model for their child this school year," Spearman said in an earlier statement. "The pandemic has shown the vital importance of our public education system and the broad range of services beyond teaching it provides for our students every day. Our goal must be a return to five day a week in person instruction as safely and as soon as possible."
"We cannot, however turn a blind eye to the health and safety of our students and staff when the spread of the virus in some of our communities is among the highest in the world. School leaders, in consultation with public health experts, are best positioned to determine how in-person operations should be carried out to fit the needs of their local communities. I remain committed to supporting them in this endeavor and will only approve those plans that offer high quality options and keep safety as their top priority.”