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Sumter School District "working around the clock" as cases, classwork cause worry among some parents

Sumter School District parents are worried about COVID-19 cases and classwork for those quarantined.

SUMTER, S.C. — Parents in the Sumter School District are worried about COVID-19 cases and the class instruction and materials given to students in quarantine. 

Michelle Giampopo has two children in the district and is hoping to see more safety measures put in place.

"I was worried from the start," Giampopo said. "If they're safe in our home, they have to be safe at school.... Take it seriously. Do a mask mandate.”

State law bans schools from mandating masks at risk of losing federal and state funds.

The law also restricts the number of kids who can learn virtually.

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Despite this, Giampopo said she's been coming weekly to the district office to protest, hoping for change.

“Why choose the funding over children?," she said.

According to the district, at least 125 students and staff tested positive in the month of September. Over 1,000 were quarantined.

Angela Lowery's children were excluded earlier in the semester. She spoke to News19 about her second grader.

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"There was a lot of information that had not even been covered by the teacher, so he had no clue on what he needed to do," Lowery said.

She said technical issues and communication with school staff has also been a challenge.

 A district spokesperson said in a statement, "District and school level staff are working around the clock to respond to concerns from our families... [and] are working diligently to ensure our students receive a high quality education while in quarantine. Challenges arise when staff is quarantined or isolated as well. Home to school communication is vital."

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She added that, "Our schools are willing to work with our students who may have performed poorly on assignments during quarantine. Instructional delivery is modified and adjusted as teachers assess the student’s skill level.... Questions and concerns are welcomed, and we are happy to work with our families to resolve any issues."

They ask for patience and say if assignments have not been posted, or if parents are experiencing technical issues, then parents should contact the schools for assistance.