CHESTER, S.C. (WBTV) -Hundreds of South Carolina teachers flocked to Columbia this afternoon to protest schools reopening.
Those teachers think that it is still not safe for schools to conduct in-person instruction.
This is the kickoff to SCforEd’s week of action.
Not only do they want their own local decision-makers to hear them but also the ones at the state level too.
That is why the teachers gathered in Columbia.
They drove to the governor’s mansion and the statehouse to be seen, and most importantly, heard.
More than 350 cars full of teachers and families raised their voices on Monday about school reopening.
Governor McMaster sparked this week of action when he called on school districts to come up with reopening plans including five days of in-person learning and a virtual option for parents.
SCforEd Area Rep Director Katie Harris said teachers feel left out of major decisions prompting them to speak up for what themselves and their students.
”We do not feel safe going back to work. We don’t think it’s safe for our colleagues, we don’t think it’s safe for our students,” said Harris. If made to go back face to face we do not feel like that’s the safest option for our state.”
The coronavirus canceled the March teacher’s rally.
Harris said whether it’s now or then it doesn’t matter—the message is still the same.
Chester County teachers were in Columbia in both spirits and holding down solidarity in the county.
While Chester County board members were making decisions inside, teachers were making their voices out in the district office’s parking lot.
Chester County teachers rallied for their students, staff and themselves.
They say it is not safe to go back to schools with rising case numbers and a high-risk level from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).
DHEC announced eight new coronavirus cases in Chester on Monday. The new cases bring Chester County’s total to over 480.
Teachers are using the data from the agency to push their message.
They want virtual options for all teachers who want it, instead of districts picking some teachers and forcing the others to go back into classrooms. As of right now, Chester County only has a very limited amount of virtual positions for teachers.
”One of the things we’re trying to help our districts with is being proactive so they won’t have to send their thoughts and prayers when making the wrong decisions that push teachers to go back into the building to their families. So instead of going to the funerals do the right thing now,” said Pete Stone, Chester County Teacher of the Year.