Just what are "eLearning Days" in South Carolina?
Let's talk virtual "eLearning" days for a bit. Most recently our county has seen two weather events, one of which led to an eLearning, or virtual, day; the other did not.
Keep in mind that school districts in South Carolina first have to apply to the S.C. Department of Education to qualify for the state's eLearning Days program*. This is not a given throughout the state for all districts.
Secondly, once a part of the eLearning Days program with the state - and this is very important - no district can use more than five days of virtual instruction to replace in-person instruction. Once those five days of eLearning days are used, one has to then use actual in-person make up days on otherwise planned holidays or at the end of the school year.
It's important to be aware of the five-day limit because otherwise the thought process with some in the public might be, "Well let's just go virtual. It doesn't really matter anyway."
Trust that the school district will always have safety first in the decision making process on whether or not to have in person instruction, and also know that those discussions are made by administration consulting with various entities to make the best possible decision. It is, however, also important to know that the state regulations on the eLearning program do not allow you an endless supply of those virtual days either.
"But what about all of the virtual days during Covid?," you may naturally ask, and it's a really good question.
The virtual instruction during Covid actually was not officially a part of the eLearning Days program, but instead came from DHEC (S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control) and the state department education as a response to the situation at that time. All Covid policies came under the authority of DHEC in accordance with state laws which gives that sole authority to DHEC**.
Again, it is important to know that eLearning Days as allowed by the state are limited to five before in-person make up days go back in effect. Also know that the safety of all children is the first concern when making decisions regarding in-person, regardless of how many "make up" days may come into play.
**Statutory authority: SC Code of Laws Sections 44-1-140, 44-29-200; 63-13-180
SC Code of Regulations Chapter 61-20 and Chapter 114, Article 5