A group of South Carolina teachers is calling for more funding and tighter guidelines before schools reopen in the fall.
The Palmetto State Teachers Association, the S.C. Education Association and SC for Ed sent a letter Monday to S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and top state lawmakers saying the recommendations for reopening schools are still the right idea. But, they say, schools need more funding and uniform standards on things like personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning classrooms to “alleviate confusion among teachers whose classroom energies will be taxed like never before,” according to the letter.
“Without fully funded and clear standards, the re-opening of schools will only reinforce the inequities present in South Carolina’s schools,” the letter said.
The recommendations from the S.C. Department of Education’s AccelerateEd task force included limiting the number of students on school buses, having students minimize exposure to other students, cleaning surfaces, wearing PPE and more.
According to the letter, some school districts have already proposed reopening plans that contradict the state reopening recommendations designed to minimize infection risk while getting students into the classroom.
McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes issued a statement saying the governor is “committed to ensuring that South Carolina’s schools re-open with in-person classroom instruction, along with virtual home learning options for parents not ready to send their children back yet.”
Symmes noted that schools have already received money from the federal government to help defray the costs of COVID-19.
“The school districts have received over $216 million from the CARES Act and have had ample time and resources to plan for safe and secure classroom instruction to start this school year,” Symmes said in the statement.