As the Coronavirus continues to relentlessly spread, some states have extended their online learning programs to last through the end of the academic year. While this precautionary measure may seem extreme, state superintendents believe that this extension will make it easier on both teachers and students by staying on a single type of learning curriculum and medium. Additionally, several governors have cited a “better safe than sorry” mentality as the main motive. With Georgia Governor Brian Kemp being the latest to do so this past Wednesday, many speculate that other southern Governors, especially Henry McMaster, will soon follow suit.
As of the publication of this article on April 4th, the following states have closed all schools through the end the semester: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Virginia and Vermont.
Currently, SC schools have been ordered to remain closed through the end of April. Measures have been taken to ensure online education and registration through that point, despite the obvious setbacks. However, the latest data from the University of Washington, Johns Hopkins and the Center for Disease Control all show South Carolina’s peak amount of both cases and deaths to be in late April and early May.
If these predictions are correct, the last day of school for Charleston County (June 5th) will still be seeing a handful of deaths per day in South Carolina. Needless to say, any point at which there are several active cases and deaths is not a time for schools to be in session. Therefore, the May resumption of schools is most likely to be cancelled.
In order to make up for lost classroom time, several state education departments have stated that they intend to open more options for summer schooling and/or begin the fall semester early. It is unclear if South Carolina will follow either of these plans, but proper measures are sure to be taken.
There are several large issues surrounding a full cancellation. Will students on free/reduced lunch still be able to receive food during the day? Will graduations be cancelled? How will final grades be calculated? States have promised their full commitment to solving these problems, and more information is sure to follow.
Students, however, are split on their opinions regarding returning to school in May. Where as some have adapted to online learning, others prefer the structure of a full school day. Regardless, the loss of important events has affected everyone in the educational community.
Updates are expected to be released mid April.