ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — Citing teacher and nursing staff absences, two Orangeburg County schools began a week of virtual learning on Monday.
Some parents say they understand the need amid rising COVID-19 cases, but that didn't make the adjustment any easier.
“It was very, very last minute," said parent Cheniqua Bowman. "It wasn’t enough time for us to make proper adjustments, so we were left with the option of just be a parent or choose work."
Bowman has children at Carver Edisto Middle School and Edisto Elementary School. She says she called out of work Monday morning to accommodate virtual learning.
“I have a job. My husband works. I had the most flexibility as far as being able to call off, where he’s on a point system so if he calls off he gets points. Points lead to termination," Bowman said.
Shekita Livingston has children at Whitaker Elementary School. She says she is hoping that school will also go virtual.
“They were sick over the Christmas holiday, well the ending part of the Christmas holiday," Livingston said. "And so, as a parent I was like, I don’t want my kids going to school while they’re sick, so I made that decision to keep them home."
Livingston also says when the school went virtual last year, she was able to make proper adjustments due to being a stay at home mom.
“I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since I had my little one, and so it’s wonderful that I get to do that," said Livingston.
Bowman says she will need help from family to accommodate the full week of online classes.
“I’m probably gonna do the first couple of days and then outsource to some family assistance because I can’t afford to take a full week off work," she says.
Orangeburg County School District officials say they will "continue to work together to keep schools open to our students and families, and are grateful for the flexibility and teamwork of our students, families, teachers and staff as we navigate these challenging times together."
Edisto Primary and Carver Edisto Middle School will return to in-person learning on January 18 after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.