Update for March 23, 2020

Update for March 23, 2020

When will we return to school:  While we have not received an official announcement, all you have to do is look at North Carolina and Virginia where their respective Governors have extended school closures to May 1st and beyond.  I was hopeful I would receive guidance today. However, for our families and staff, I will tell you to go ahead and prepare for a much longer duration than anticipated. During our “waive” week this week, teachers should plan for an entire week of instruction for 30 MAR-3 APR.  This will take us into spring break, 6-10 APR. If we do not return to school on 13 APR, which I suspect we will not, our students will have eLearning lessons from 13-17 APR. As more information is provided through our daily state conference calls, I will disseminate it to our community.

U.S. Department of Education Approves South Carolina Assessment Suspension Waiver: State Superintendent Molly Spearman and the S.C. Department of Education (SCDE) has received notice that the U.S. Department of Education has approved the agency's assessment and accountability suspension waiver that was submitted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  On March 17, 2020, Superintendent Spearman sent a letter to U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary of Education, Mick Zais, indicating South Carolina’s intent to suspend federally required assessments and giving notice of submitting additional accountability measure waivers. On March 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education released a form for states to request such waivers. The U.S. Department of Education reviewed and gave South Carolina approval to suspend assessments and waived certain accountability measures. For spring 2020, South Carolina will not administer any of the following assessment programs:

  • SC READY (English language arts and mathematics in grades 3–8);
  • SCPASS (science in grades 4 and 6);
  • End-of-Course Examination Program (English, Algebra, Biology, United States History and the Constitution) the requirement that these examinations count 20 percent has been waived;
  • Prekindergarten assessments; and
  • Alternate Assessments

The SCDE is working closely with the vendors of college entrance, college credit, and workforce readiness assessments to explore innovative approaches, such as testing online. To the extent possible, districts may administer these assessments to students who may need them for post-secondary or employment aspirations. These assessments include Advanced Placement, SAT, ACT, and WIN Ready to Work. Should these assessments be able to be administered, they will continue to be paid for by the state.

Bright Note:  Mary Anne Byrd, our Executive Director for Community Relations shared with our team a recent segment that aired on SCETV, This Week in South Carolina.  In a gray environment, our transportation and food service departments are a bright ray of hope.  Our part starts at 3:00 mark.  

Respectfully,
Dr. Shane Robbins, ATC