Jasper Co. School District switching to virtual learning temporarily

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 3:48 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 11:05 PM EST
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JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - The Jasper County School District will be transitioning from in-person learning to temporary virtual learning starting Thursday, January 13.

The school district says the decision was made after three class closures at several of our elementary schools, and several staff shortages due to COVID. This was also due to a surge in COVID cases in the community, as well as the number of students and staff having to currently quarantine.

The switch to virtual learning will last until Thursday, January 20. The district will reevaluate data before the return date for further direction.

During the closure of in-person learning, Jasper County School District will implement mandatory E-learning for students at all schools. Students must log in for virtual learning daily during this closure.

The district has provided information on the tools necessary for students to be successful and instructions for pertinent departments. That information is below:

  • Technology: All students will take their technology home today, including PreK – 2 nd grade students. Any families needing a hot spot for data, will need to contact their child’s school. There is a limited number of data devices, therefore we will distribute on a greatest need basis, then first come, first serve.
  • E-Learning/Curriculum and Instruction: There will be detailed directions sent home with students from their schools and those directions will be available on each school’s website on how to access instructional content and program(s). Synchronous and Asynchronous instruction will be implemented for all schools and all grade levels. However, all students must have a district issued device to participate so that learning can continue during this in-person pause. Students taking EOC exams and ACCESS testing will be scheduled and must take in-person. Limited transportation will be provided for these exams. All iReady diagnostic testing will pause until students return to in-person learning.
  • Food services: Meals will be prepared for students for four days, breakfast and lunch. Meals will be delivered according to student’s bus routes. Meals will begin to be delivered on Thursday, January 13, 2022, starting at 10 AM, until all meals are delivered. Additionally, we will have curbside pickup for students who are car riders from 11 AM – 1 PM near the cafeteria area of each school.
  • Extracurricular Activities: During the closure of schools (in-person learning), all athletic activities will continue as scheduled unless informed otherwise, and all before and after school programs are cancelled during this in-person learning pause.
  • Virtual Learning Academy Students All Jasper County School District: Virtual learning academy students, please continue learning as normal.
  • Teachers will facilitate instruction from their classroom and other staff will report to their perspective places.

Jasper County schools were in the classroom for a week following the holiday break before the announcement.

This, while a student WTOC talked to thought the first week back was going well!

“It was really good because people were separated. There weren’t any COVID cases in my school,” said Stephan Ashby, Jasper County 7th grader.

Stephan says learning from home makes it harder to focus on his work, and he prefers the in person experience.

“When I’m in a class, I’m not distracted about the tv and the game in my room so I’m better in a classroom.”

Adults WTOC spoke with understand that’ll be difficult, but also see the health benefits of virtual learning.

“As far as the safety of the children and the teachers and the staff itself I feel it’s a good practice, but I just don’t feel that the children will actually get the proper attention,” said Debra Washington - Jasper County Grandmother.

Some parents said they were told about the change around lunch time today, less than 24 hours before their kids go back to school from home.

“I really don’t feel it is right the way they just want to spring it on them all of a sudden.”

But others say that timeframe won’t be a problem.

“I’m a parent so I have my kids 24/7 anyway, so it’s not hard to deal with,” said Jessica Nettles, Jasper County mother.

She has a first grader at Ridgeland elementary, and when I asked how she felt about virtual schooling in general... this was her response.

“It’s fine. I mean, I don’t mind it at all. At least I know my kids are safe.”

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