South Carolina state senator rebukes governor's push to reopen schools: 'We are not prepared'

South Carolina state senator rebukes governor's push to reopen schools: 'We are not prepared'
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South Carolina State Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setlzer (D) said Wednesday the state is not prepared for students to return for in-person instruction safely as Gov. Henry McMaster (R) urged schools to reopen for students by Labor Day. 

“We are not prepared for students to go back safely, currently,” Setzler said, according to WLTX. “That's where the vacuum is and what needs to be addressed is the safety of the students, safety of the teachers, staff, and everybody in the community.”

The governor on Wednesday said schools must give parents an option for in-person instruction five days a week. He said each district will be required to submit a plan including such an option, and he directed state Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman not to approve any district’s plan that doesn't give an option for in-person instruction. 

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Setzler said his message to Spearman would be to “take it slow” regarding the reopening of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“My message to her would be take it slow, take it deliberate, have a plan from the state level of what the minimum requirements for safety should be, and if it takes longer to get it done properly and safely, then postpone when school starts,” Setzler said, according to WLTX. 

Spearman reportedly did not attend McMaster’s press conference, although the governor said she had been invited. Spearman had also issued a statement at the same time that said reopening decisions should be made by local officials and that parents should have a choice between in-person and virtual instruction. 

“School leaders, in consultation with public health experts, are best positioned to determine how in-person operations should be carried out to fit the needs of their local communities,” Spearman said in a statement, according to The State. “I remain committed to supporting them in this endeavor and will only approve those plans that offer high quality options and keep safety as their top priority.”