On Tuesday, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman released the final guidance and recommendations for the 2020-21 school year.
The recommendations were put together by AccelerateED – a task force convened by Superintendent Spearman which was made up of educators and administrators representing all aspects of the K-12 public education system in South Carolina.
“When putting together these recommendations, the first thing to know is that all our focus, and every single one of our priorities, are directed toward protecting the health, safety and wellness of students and staff,” said Superintendent Spearman. “Planning for a new school year, in even the most normal of circumstances, is challenging enough. Clearly, the start of the 2020-21 school year poses unique challenges and uncontrollable variables that raise questions we have never before needed to answer. However, we are committed to giving students the best possible learning experience that is as close to normal as health and safety allow.”
From rural and urban communities, to working parents and families needing childcare, every district in our state is different. Each represents unique challenges to learning, scheduling and budgets. The task force convened 25 times to develop a plan for fall operations with potential options and contingencies schools and districts can customize to fit the needs of their communities.
The recommendations are included in a 92 page report. Highlights are also listed in a separate document.
The introduction page states:
School is not going to look the same regardless of what shape and form of in class or distance learning model is adopted.
Contingencies will need to be made.
Acceptance and understanding will need to be universal. The discipline and habits of people will need to change.
From rural and urban communities, to working parents and families needing childcare, every district in our state is different.
Each represents unique challenges to learning, scheduling and budgets. Knowing routines will be disrupted, AcceleratED designed recommendations to provide flexibility for school and district decision making that help get students at all levels back to school safely.
While the optimal learning environment for most students would be in-person instruction, we must acknowledge that what’s reality now, may not be the same in August, nor the ideal educational model that works best throughout the year.
Right now, we live in an everchanging environment and the course of future actions depends on the course this pandemic takes.
What we do know, however, is the resilience and pride South Carolinians have in their state and for their students, is an essential factor in overcoming any obstacles and challenges we face along the way. We all want our students back in school, and we can all contribute to getting back to learning, safely and comfortably.
We all want our students back in school. This broader overview was created to focus on key excerpts and demostrate how we can all contribute to safely and comfortably get back to learning.
To come up with the recommendations, the task force:
Worked closely with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and referred to the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Examined the science and research related to the novel coronavirus
Sought advice from a variety of additional external experts
Applied their collective expertise
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The full plan and a summary highlighting key excerpts are available at
Find the summary that highlights key excerpts from the full plan here.
Read the full recommendations here.