State approves 25 more reopening plans; 50 districts, including area ones, still wait


State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman approved 25 more school district reopening plans for the fall term on Thursday, but none are in the tri-county region.

Like Monday, the state Department of Education announced the approval of the various plans in a news release, and now a total of 31 of the state's 81 districts' re-entry instructional models have been approved.

A total of 50 plans - including Sumter School District, Lee County School District and the three districts in Clarendon County- are still being reviewed. In the release, the state department said it will announce additional approvals in the coming days.

The agency said it received Sumter School District's plan on Tuesday. Sumter's plan calls for reopening in a fully virtual, online capacity on Friday, Aug. 28, and reevaluating every 30 days if it can phase in a hybrid model, depending on local COVID-19 incidence rates and safety.

The hybrid model of instruction would be a blend of online and in-person instruction weekly. The district has said its desire is also to shift to full, regular classroom attendance when it is feasible and safe.

In the spring, the state General Assembly gave the state superintendent final authority on approving districts' reopening plans.

Public school students across the state have the option of remaining in full virtual instruction throughout the school year.

In the last couple weeks, the state Department has emphasized virtual instructional options this fall will be enhanced with more accountability from the spring term, when COVID-19 school closures required emergency remote learning.