COLUMBIA – Lawmakers want schools to begin offering full weeks of in-person learning sooner, rather than later.
The state Senate unanimously approved a resolution on March 31 that would require all districts to offer full weeks of in-person learning by this week.
The House approved a modified plan Wednesday with an April 26 deadline.
Two of the school districts in The T&D Region, the Orangeburg and Calhoun county districts, currently offer a mix of online and in-person learning, or what is classified as a hybrid model.
Both districts have plans to move to a full, face-to-face model this month.
Orangeburg County plans to transition to in-person learning five days a week on April 19. Calhoun County schools will offer in-person learning five days a week beginning April 26.
Bamberg County School Districts 1 and 2 have already transitioned to the five-day, in-person learning model.
“Every family must be given the option of sending their child to school five days a week face to face and the science shows that this can be done safely in every community,” State Superintendent Molly Spearman said via a statement.
The House version removed from the Senate resolution a requirement that teachers be paid extra if they have to teach students both in the classroom and online.
The extra pay proposal had to be taken out because education officials and lawmakers were still working to figure out parameters like if teachers get credit for an online class if the lessons are just streamed and there is no interaction with students who are not in person, said Rep. Raye Felder, R-Fort Mill.
“We're not leaving those teachers hanging, doing all that additional work?” Rep. Wendy Brawley, D-Hopkins, asked Felder during Wednesday's debate.
“We plan to continue to work on that,” Felder said.
The House passed the resolution 106-7 and it faces one last procedural vote before being sent back to the Senate.
Senators will either have to agree to the House version or the two sides will have to work out their differences in a committee.
All but one school district across the state plans to have five days of in-person classes by the April 26 deadline. The state's largest school district in Greenville County has not been able to get high school students back in classes for five days because of a lack of space to socially distance, but they have said they will also adhere to any deadline.
Jeffrey Collins of the Associated Press contributed to this report.