Kershaw County schools begin school year amid surge in COVID cases
CAMDEN, SC (WOLO) — Kershaw County School District started back last Thursday, but is already seeing 87 COVID-19 cases among students and 19 among its staff.
That being said, only 250 of the district’s more than 11,000 students are learning virtually. That number of students is much less than the 550 that the district can allow.
“I’m so glad that they’re back in school. I really am,” said Camden parent Lindsey Gainey.
A mom of an elementary school student, she remembers how hard last year was.
“We did virtually learning for half that year. She did not too good,” Gainey said.
Going back to school means kids seeing their friends and also enjoying extracurricular activities.
“I think personally it presents a whole set of challenges because there is absolutely no way you can socially distance at any of these venues,” said Dr. Shane Robbins, Kershaw County School District superintendent. “We will look at shutting down events and activities if we think there is a surge to slow it down and make sure we don’t have a negative impact on the community as a whole.”
Dr. Robbins does not believe the district needs a mask mandate. Many parents are sending their kids to school with one anyway.
“I do send her with a mask everyday,” said Gainey about her daughter. “She knows how to put it on.”
While the student population is over 95 percent in person, Kershaw County is a few teachers short to start the year.
“From a teaching staff perspective, we do have a couple vacancies. Probably a little more challenging than in year’s past. We always start the year with a vacancy or two here and there. We probably have a couple more than normal,” Robbins said. “We’ve had some late resignations and retirements but nothing we can’t handle, adapt, adjust and cover our classrooms.”
“I can’t be a teacher. I commend them for being teachers,” Gainey said. “I could not do that.”
Last year, the school district had opportunities for staff and students to get the COVID vaccine if they wanted. Dr. Robbins says Kershaw County will have at least two more of those coming up this school year.