Locals concerned with how the pandemic is being handled in Aiken County schools


AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Aiken County school leaders are rolling out new-pandemic related plans and some people remain unhappy with the way things are being handled.

“I think it’s going to help them to be prepared when they get back to the classroom and not be as far behind as they would’ve been otherwise,” said Superintendent King Laurence.

Starting September 27th, Aiken County public school teachers will start preparing additional curriculum for a dual modality plan.

Aiken County Public Schools to have early release days for quarantine instruction training

Laurence said, “What we really want to happen is for those students at home to have a connection to their classroom teacher at least for the direct instruction portions of the day.”

Under the plan, teachers will have to create live or recorded instruction videos for students in quarantine.

Bethany Ross is an Aiken County teacher. She said, “I understand we need to do something for our children that are in quarantine and they’re not able to get what they need because they’re not in-person but it’s just asking a lot to have teachers do both.”

The district understands it’s an extra burden on teachers according to Laurence but teachers are being paid an additional $1,250 per semester in light of the dual modality plan.

“It’s like all these things come up, ‘Oh, we’ll allocate some more money.’ I’m wondering, do you really understand where all that money is coming from? It is coming from our pockets, the taxpayer,” said Don Quigley.

Quigley is taking a wait-and-see approach to the plan. He has four grandkids in Aiken County schools. All of whom have had to quarantine.

He explained, “My grandson four times. Three times last year and once this year so far and my granddaughters all once. But they’re losing valuable instruction time and socialization with their classmates. Regardless of what they may say in those meetings, the kids are suffering. In Aiken County, 70% of third graders can’t meet the state requirements for reading. Eighth graders is like 60%, that’s unacceptable and they want to keep throwing money at every little issue.”

“If you are one grade behind in reading at third grade, odds are you will never graduate high school. And on top that, if you don’t graduate high school in South Carolina, that young person male or female, particularly male, will end up in prison by age 25,” added Aiken County parent Andrew McCaskill.

The latest data shows coronavirus cases are decreasing in the Aiken County school district. Superintendent Laurence hopes quarantines will follow the same trend during next week.

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