South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is calling on all public school districts in the state to submit plans for reopening that give parents the option to either send their children back to school, or keep them home for distance learning.
McMaster said it’s critical to get children back in their classrooms “where they all want to be” during a news conference Wednesday morning.
“Try as we might, we know that virtual education is not as good for most children as face-to-face, in-class education,” he said.
McMaster repeatedly said that parents need to be given a choice on whether or not their children go back for in-person learning, but he pressed that in-person models must be an option.
McMaster said he has asked South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman not to approve any district’s plan that doesn’t give parents an in-person option for their children.
“Parents need to have a choice, they need to say to their districts whether they want their children in class 5 days a week or whether they want a virtual education. It will be their choice, but we must have school available,” McMaster said.
McMaster also recognized the technology gap in certain parts of the state, where families without internet access can’t participate in virtual learning. He said 10,000 students have not been heard from since the pandemic began.
“We cannot restrict learning by forcing students to participate in remote learning when many of our students in rural parts of the state have no access to internet to begin with.”
Public schools have until this Friday to submit their final plans for approval by the state.