Clarendon School District 2 returns to virtual learning starting next week as virus spreads


Students in Clarendon School District 2 schools will be switching to remote learning on Tuesday, Sept.7, as COVID-19 cases and the number of students in quarantine continue to rise.

The Manning-based school district, with a total enrollment of about 2,600, announced Tuesday afternoon it will be returning to virtual instruction after Monday's Labor Day holiday.

In a news release posted on social media, Superintendent Shawn Johnson wrote that all teachers must report to school buildings to provide students with live instruction.

"Students will have to join all of their virtual class sessions in order to be marked present for the class and day," Johnson wrote. "We will use the remainder of the week to ensure that our students are prepared to navigate their virtual learning experience as successfully as possible."

The district, like others in South Carolina, moved to virtual-only classes during the coronavirus pandemic last school year.

During the summer, the state Legislature put a limit on how many students can enroll in virtual schooling via the district, with each district being capped at 5%, lest their state funding be affected. However, schools can switch back to temporary virtual learning if they are experiencing a severe staff and faculty shortage of more than 50%.

Whether this is the case in the district has yet to be confirmed by Johnson, although the district has been affected by quarantine protocols. Last week, the district had a total of 167 students in quarantine, an increase from the previous week of 110. According to Derek Phillips, a spokesman for the state's Department of Education, out of the 72 South Carolina school districts, only seven have gone back to virtual this fall.

The Manning district has six schools: Manning Early Childhood Center, Manning Primary, Manning Elementary, Manning Junior High, Manning High School and Manning Optional Education Center.

The district will determine if an extension of the remote learning period or closing schools is necessary after the end of next week.

The Sumter Item will update this story with more information as it becomes available.