The South Carolina Department of Education announced yesterday that it has approved an additional 25 school district plans for reopening for 2020-2021. The School District of Newberry County’s plan was one of those approved.
In order to be approved school districts must meet key criteria set by the SCDE. These criteria include – offering both a virtual and face to face option, a time frame to review operational plans to move towards full five day face-to-face instruction model, and the establishment of how high quality instruction and a broad range of student services will be provided. Unlike the emergency remote learning that was required during COVID-19 school closures, students participating in virtual options will have a daily instructional schedule, receive frequent teacher feedback, and face high standards for earning passing grades.
Superintendent Jim Suber stated, “We are blessed to have over 800 employees that dedicate themselves to making a difference in our students’ lives each and every day. This COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to think ‘outside the box’ and we will provide a first class learning experience in a different way. We are up to this challenge and look forward to an outstanding 2020-21 school year.”
On July 23, 2020, the district Board of Education voted to give parents the option of having their child return to school on a hybrid schedule or enroll them in the newly created Newberry ONE eLearning Institute. They also voted to delay the first day for students until August 24.
Under the hybrid schedule, students would be divided into two groups. Group 1 will attend school in person on Mondays and Thursdays. Group 2 will attend school in person on Tuesdays and Fridays. The days the students are not physically in school, they will be given assignments to work on at home. All students will be provided with a learning device. Students in grades K-2 will receive iPads. Students in grades 3-12 will receive a laptop.
The Newberry ONE Institute for eLearning offers students an online curriculum with teachers from the school district. Students will be expected to attend live-streamed classes online at designated times and complete all assignments online.
Dr. Lynn Cary and the Office of Instruction have led the district in working through various ways students could receive instruction. “While none of us anticipated the challenges facing us today, we are excited about the prospect of offering more innovative options for our teachers, students, and their families. A lot of hard work has gone into creating a plan to meet the needs of our students, and our teachers and administrators deserve all the credit as we put this plan into action.”