South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster made it official Tuesday.
Public schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.
No in-school classes. No spring sports.
Online classes continue and the focus then turns to how best to end this crazy school year and try to prepare for the next.
Many students last saw their teachers in person picking up supplies after school was closed back in March.
While Beaufort County School Superintendent Dr. Frank Rodriguez says the online teachers and classes have been great, the lack of personal contact is still a concern.
“Everybody is experiencing this as we are, at the same time. In terms of where they would normally be compared to a regular school year, that’s something we can’t determine just yet.”
“I’m concerned about all our kids. I’m just going to be honest with you,” said Dr. Rodriguez. “This is unprecedented this is very different and I’m concerned about all of them. We are looking at how to address those critical things. Like their social and emotional well being. We have our social workers and guidance counselors reaching out to our students on a daily basis. We know that our teachers are reaching out to students on a daily basis. I’m concerned about that, I’m concerned about the academics as well.”
To help those students in academic need, the county is working on summer support programs.
End of year grades will take into consideration the “extenuating circumstances” for students, for instance, if they had to work to help support their family.
While Dr. Rodriguez says graduations “will” happen, in some form. Either online or somehow in person.
Rodriguez is already getting ready for the first three weeks of next year. The design, to help kids “catch up” to where they should be.
“We are going to have to look at something as we start the school year to spend some time in those initial weeks of school that we are zeroing in on those essential standards,” said Rodriguez. “Those are the ones we really need to zero in on those kids.”
Kids who have already been handed out 200,000 meals. Kids who they hope can stay focused this year. Even during these tough times, and finish up strong.
“My hope is that we are able to start with the normalcy that we are all accustomed too with a normal first day of school.”
“We do want them to help us keep their kids engaged,” said Dr. Rodriguez. “Help them keep engaged with teachers through zoom lessons even now. Schools are closed but the year is not over and we want students to keep learning all the way through.”
Rodriguez’ hope is to have kids in actual classrooms in August.
His other big concern will be money.
40% of the County’s school budget comes from the state. No one knows right now how huge the impact on tax revenue will be.