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Richland Two sticks with online learning plan for start of school year

Despite Governor McMaster's call for school districts to provide an in-person option at the start of the school year, Richland Two continues their online plan.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland Two Schools are sticking with an online only model at the start of the school year.

The district submitted their plan to the State Department of Education, which included a phased in approach.

Their plan does not follow Governor Henry McMaster's suggestion of five days of in-person learning.

RELATED: All SC schools must be open five days a week, governor says

On Tuesday, the plan was presented to the Richland Two School Board during a regularly scheduled meeting.

In the first phase, students will choose between enrolling in the E-learning at their schools or the R2ESchools Virtual Program.

"Students are still assigned to their zoned or assigned school, but transfer their attendance and administrative oversight to the Richland Two's E-School program for the 2020-2021 school year," explains the director of virtual programs for Richland Two. "Families must commit to Richland2's E School for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year as we will transfer resources to support the program."

The R2ESchools model was created after families said they would not be allowing their children to return to school due to underlying health conditions.

E-learning would take place through individual schools, whether in a school building or in a community zone.

Students in the E-learning program would eventually phase into a hybrid model, where they would have in-person learning that could lead to a traditional school day.

The board has not voted on an official start date for the school year, but classes could start as early as August 31st. 

The board chair says this is still a very fluid situation.

"We are in unprecedented times," says James Shadd III. "The decisions that are being made right now for our students and for our staff, they are critically important and aren't taken lightly."

The board plans to meet again on August 11th.

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