CHESTER, S.C. (WBTV) - There is a better look at how many students will be learning virtually in South Carolina this fall and what that would look like.
“Virtual school was very different than what real school was like,” said student Sam Crouch.
Parents had several complaints about the virtual classes parents saw in March. Chester County says it is using software to make it a much better experience. It is good news to Crouch, who will attend school virtually - but he is giving it another shot for the upcoming year.
”I made my decision to do the virtual learning, because I did not like wearing a mask and having to wear a mask all day would be very hard for me and I wouldn’t focus as much on my work,” says Crouch.
Crouch will join over 1,700 other students online in Chester. That is 35 percent of Chester County Schools entire student body.
”It kind of blew our mind we were like wow! We didn’t realize initially that we would have that many to enroll and we were like wow we need more teachers to cover it,” says Chester County Schools Superintendent Antwon Sutton.
He says they recruited 63 of the more than 400 district teachers for virtual learning. The 35 students to one teacher ratio is just slightly more than the pre-COVID classroom, which had about 20 to 22 to one.
”The world is changed and everything’s been flipped upside down,: he says. We just want to make sure that our students are still able to receive a meaningful and effective education. That instruction should still be delivered in whatever platform it is.
Sutton says the district is meeting that goal with new software. Students will interact with teachers and their peers for what he calls an equal learning experience. ”Same things the students will be taught in a hybrid model, they’ll be taught the same way in our virtual model. They just won’t be in our buildings physically,” he says.
The percentages of students are looking similar across the board. In York County, Fort Mill is at 30 percent virtual and Rock Hill at 40. Chesterfield County sits at about 40 percent of its students. In Lancaster County, 30 percent of students will be sitting in the virtual classroom. York District One is the only one under 30 percent. The district sits at about 20 percent of its students.
Clover School District has not reported back to our request.