AccelerateEd Tasks Force discusses summer program, safety in schools

AccelerateEd Tasks Force discusses summer program, safety in schools

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTV) -How to keep your kids keep from falling behind in this unprecedented learning environment.

That is what a task force in South Carolina is trying to figure out.

South Carolina’s Accelerate Ed Task Force met Thursday to discuss how they plan on having summer schools in districts across the state. The plan is to have a summer school program for student’s in kindergarten through third grade.

All three subcommittees discussed what needs to happen to bring students back for in-person learning.

Some of the recommendations surrounded summer school nurses for every school and making sure parents feel safe sending their students to school.

One task force member thinks they should have enough funding to spend $2,500 per student.

Several members of the task force say there also needs to be funding for cleaning supplies and training.

“I feel confident that if I can give them some better information and help them with the confidence that we can make this happen this summer that they’re going to do everything they can up that amount," Spearman said. ”Whatever we can do to get that face to face and side by side.”

Second-grade teacher Leslie Bass is all in on the in-person summer reading camp plans.

”I think that’s phenomenal. I think that’s going to help with the gap I know we’re going to see. We’re essentially losing months of school so the gap is going to be enormous," Bass said.

Bass thinks face-to-face learning is better, especially because she says online learning creates a digital divide getting between her and her students.

”Where I’m able to talk to some of my kids I can’t talk to all of my kids," Bass said. "Some of my kids I can only talk to on the phone.”

The question is whether in-person learning will be allowed.

To come back into the schools, this state-formed education task force has to make sure students are safe.

So far it has decided to do a few new things: include school nurses in every school, fit schools with safety features like protecting glass, put in permanent hand sanitizer stations and add personal protective equipment.

The task force is also waiting on direction from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control about traveling on buses. The Centers for Disease Control also put out recommendations for what schools should do come fall. The force also must convince parents and teachers schools are safe.

”The best advertising for families is having a successful summer school program," says one of the task force members.

State Superintendent Spearman is going to the Senate to ask for more money to fully fund a summer program. Bass believes the cost should be paid no matter how high.

”I don’t want to see anything negatively affect these kids more than it already has," Spearman said.

The plans used for the summer school program will be also applied to the fall semester.

Taskforce members believe the best show that they are prepared for the fall will be what happens in the summer. The task force is encouraging people to speak up if they have any comments. You can find the full list of recommendations here.

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