Lexington school district finds way to keep kids learning in the classroom
LEXINGTON, SC (WOLO) — Keeping kids in school has been a challenge for districts throughout the state as COVID cases continue to rise across South Carolina.
At Lexington Two School District, the threshold for moving to remote learning is 5 percent of the student body testing positive for COVID.
While rarely reaching that threshold, they have had issues with many students having to quarantine.
“Actually what our approach was, DHEC just adopted. They recommend that if 30 percent of your total population, you should move to remote learning,” said Lexington Two Superintendent Dr. Nicolas Wade. “We were roughly at a third when we made that decision.
It was a tough decision but five schools in the district were forced to temporarily move to remote learning earlier in the semester. Most have since returned to the classroom.
“Right now we only have one school, our alternative school, that is remote learning,” said Dr. Wade. “About 50 students and that is because of a high number of positives.”
To keep kids in school, the school district made another tough decision. Lexington Two reinstated a mask mandate. This is something the governor continues to speak against.
“We have a state law in South Carolina through the general assembly that reflects the will of the people. A child will not be required to wear a mask without the consent of the parents. That is a parental decision,” said Gov. Henry McMaster.
“Our position is that we are not really violating the proviso,” said Wade. “We are also adhering to DHEC guidance and Senate Bill 147. In terms of our temporary mask requirement we have in place, the numbers speak for themselves. We are not closing schools like so many other districts.”
Earlier this month, Lexington Two has almost 200 COVID cases and almost 1,500 students quarantining. Now, the district has only 84 cases and less than 400 students in quarantine.
Even so, the governor believes that mask mandates are not the answer.
“The younger you get, the more trouble it presents in the minds of many of our parents,” McMaster said.
For Lexington Two, the temporary requirement of masks for students, staff and visitors last until the end of October. It aims to not only keep students in the classroom, but also continuing the extracurricular activities they enjoy.
“Even if we have to move a school to remote learning, we suspend extracurriculars but everything gets rescheduled. We are not outright cancelling,” Wade said. “We’re trying to move forward the best way that we can.”
On the other hand, Lexington One School District highly recommends wearing masks but has not mandated them. It continues to see high numbers of COVID cases and several of that district’s schools remain in a remote learning model.