Beaufort County superintendent recommends all virtual start to school year

Beaufort County superintendent recommends all virtual start to school year

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - The Beaufort County School District superintendent is recommending all students return to classes virtually this school year.

Dr. Frank Rodriguez announced his decision during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

“Having reviewed DHEC metrics for the past six weeks, we see COVID-19 conditions simply are not improving in our community,” Rodriguez said. “In fact, they have been getting worse. Last week, Beaufort County reported a record 113 infections in a single day. Nearly half of our county’s 43 confirmed deaths occurred in July.”

The school board voted in July to approve a new school calendar that delayed the start of classes to Sept. 8. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster recommended districts in the state look at delaying start dates until after Labor Day to allow more time for preparing for the new year.

The South Carolina Department of Education recently stated it would approve school district’s return to school plan if it contained the caveat of district’s offering an in-person option for school no later than Sept. 14.

Dr. Rodriquez said he would lobby the state in hopes of being granted relief from that provision.

According to the school district, every K-12 student will be provided a digital learning device.

The school district held a live stream Wednesday morning. You can watch a replay below:

School district leaders say they know they need to accommodate working parents. They say they are reaching out to resources who can assist them.

“We are working currently, communicating and engaging with our partners in the community.”

Groups like the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, as well as churches have all reached out. But the school district doesn’t want to advocate for anything that’s not safe.

“We, as a public education, cannot do it on our own so we don’t want to miss an opportunity of bringing in [help]. But at the same regard, we also want to ensure that in collaboration of meeting the needs of our kids as well as safety.”

The school district says they will not consider face-to-face instruction until they see COVID-19 numbers change.

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