BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - The Beaufort County Board of Education approved Superintendent Frank Rodriguez’s recommendation to develop a revised school calendar that would delay the first day of school from the current start date of August 17 until September 8.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster endorsed a September 8 start date during a news conference in Columbia on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, the situation with COVID-19 is not getting better, it’s getting worse,” Rodriguez said. “All of us understand the importance of resuming face-to-face instruction, but many of our parents have expressed concern and hesitation about doing so under current conditions. We also have significant numbers of classroom teachers and school staff who are frightened about the dangers posed to themselves and their families.”
“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our students and staff. I cannot in good conscience commit to a reopening plan that would knowingly put them in harm’s way. If COVID-19 conditions continue to worsen, we may need to rethink our reopening strategy. It’s entirely possible that we could start the year with all students learning virtually. We will continue to monitor DHEC’s weekly metrics and guidance to inform our decisions and keep everyone safe.”
Parents of the school district’s 22,000 students began completing online registration for their children and requesting either face-to-face or online learning on Monday.
Rodriguez said parents should still state their preference when registering their children for the new school year.
“We need to know parents’ preferences so we’ll be ready to roll with both options when it’s safe to do so.”
The district’s reopening plan will be released on Friday.
In-person academic recovery camps for students have been postponed until July 20. The school board says they will now be conducted completely online. Parents have already been notified.
The S.C. High School League Executive Committee decided to move the start of fall sports competition until September because of the pandemic on Wednesday. The SCHSL’s plan pushes the start of practices from July 30 to Aug. 17, with games starting for football four weeks later.