Parents react to Forest Creek Middle School moving to virtual learning due to rise in COVID-19 cases

Face-to-face learning will resume on Thursday, Sept. 9, district officials said.
Published: Aug. 25, 2021 at 2:03 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 26, 2021 at 7:48 PM EDT
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FORT MILL, S.C. (WBTV) – Forest Creek Middle School will transition to virtual learning due to a rise in COVID-19 cases that have shown the presence of community spread within the school, district officials announced Wednesday.

The Fort Mill School District determined that all face-to-face Forest Creek Middle students will start virtual learning on Thursday, Aug. 26.

”I just sat there and tears were coming,” says Robyn Seidman, whose child goes to the school. “I couldn’t stop crying.”

After Seidman’s daughter stayed virtual all last year, she thought online learning was over, but now she is back in the same place.

”She was just devastated that’s the only word I can use. She felt deflated,” she says.

Seidman says her daughter did virtual last year because it was the best for their at-home situation, but in the two weeks she was back in school with friends, her attitude completely changed for the better. Now back in virtual, Seidman worries. Plus, it is not just her daughter feeling this way.

”Just so happy to be back with her people and her friends and I really think it would just be hard for her. It still is I mean she teared up last night when we were talking about it,” she says. ”I’m tired of fearing the phone calls, I’m tired of the fighting, the in fighting. Our children’s health is not political.”

Seidman says she hates masks but would like to see kids wear them if it means her daughter stays in school. Fort Mill School district is following state law, which bans mask mandates. District spokesperson Joe Burke says the other mitigation efforts helps them prepare for the worst, like Forest Creek switching to virtual.

”Because everybody has been through this before and we’ve had plans in place, this transition has been smoother than it has been before,” says Burke.

In the meantime, Seidman is coming up with plans to try to fill the one thing that’s changed since moving to virtual, her daughter seeing her friends.

”They’re giving them the same information. I think it’s just the emotional toll on the kids being ripped away from their friends,” says Seidman.

Following guidance from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, students will remain in virtual learning for 14 days in order to slow the spread of the virus, a press release stated. All afterschool activities, sports and clubs are also canceled.

Face-to-face learning will resume on Thursday, Sept. 9, district officials said.

According to the release, community spread is determined when contact tracing shows there is a clear path that indicates widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus is taking place at a school facility and new positive cases cannot be associated with any outside source.

“We understand this transition may cause a hardship for some families and we can assure this decision was made after a thorough review of our contact tracing data and with the safety of our students, staff and community in mind,” the release stated.

School administration and teachers will communicate specific details for the virtual learning process, according to the district.

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