LANCASTER, S.C. (WBTV) - Eleven Lancaster County elementary schools had fully-packed classrooms on Monday for the first time since school started. The hybrid model is taking a hiatus for more days of in-person learning.
Lancaster County Schools is one of the last districts to make the shift.
Unlike other districts, Lancaster County school board dedicated a day for teachers helping virtual learning students. Friday is the day virtual students will do extra work with teachers.
A and B class groups are now meeting together. Desks are now three feet apart instead of six and are covered with plexiglass.
The district decided in November that elementary students needed to be back in the classroom.
That decision came just days after two elementary schools closed because of COVID-19. Erwin Elementary and Clinton Elementary had to close for two weeks because of a “severe staff shortage.”
For parents, this is a polarizing issue.
Some watched the rising numbers and school closures. They felt this was not the right time to reopen the schools when the hybrid learning was having problems.
Others knew their student needed more face-to-face time.
They wanted to make sure their student stayed ahead in class.
The only way to do that, for them, was to have the teacher teach.
Despite the decision being made almost a month ago, and the first day of the new schedule, parents still have very strong opinions on whether this move should have happened.
It was Maria Rosario Martinez Vazquez son’s first day back to school on a Monday since his hybrid schedule had him in the classroom Thursday and Friday. She jumped at the chance to have her student spend more days in the classroom.
”School is the best way for them to learn,” she said. ”It’s really hard for me as a Spanish mom. I get confused with the English and Spanish and I think I get my child confused.”
Martinez Vazquez said the growing COVID-19 cases in the county and across the district is not a concern. Since last Tuesday, about three of Lancaster County’s 22 schools have not had a COVID-19 case, according to DHEC’s COVID-19 school website.
”School is very important so why not,” said Martinez Vasquez. “They can get the corona anywhere. Anywhere.”
Catching the virus is Jammie Hunter’s reason for keeping her student out of school.
”With the numbers increasing and the statistics and stuff like that I worry about it and think about it every day,” said Hunter.
Her son is enrolled at Kenaki Academy where she feels he gets his education safely. Though, she still worries.
She hopes those in-person students do not spread COVID-19 through the county making the cases rise even higher.
“I worry about my son but I have trust. I have trust in the people here,” Hunter said. “So hopefully it’ll all work out for the best.”
Middle and high school students will not go back to school until the second semester, which is after the new year.