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Charleston County parents have until Aug. 3 to choose between in-person or virtual school

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Charleston County parents have until Monday to decide if they want their student to return to a school building in the fall or enroll in the district's virtual learning platform. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

Charleston County students will have the option to choose between in-person and virtual learning next school year, but time is running out for parents to decide. 

Charleston County School District sent parents an enrollment form Wednesday night asking parents to select which option they would like to enroll their child in this fall. 

Parents have until Monday to complete and submit the online form, which can be accessed via the district's website. Families with multiple students should complete one form for each child. 

Here's what options they have to choose from:

Option 1: Students would return to the classroom and attend in-person classes.

Some schools might be able to safely host students five days a week. Others might only be able to host a fraction of students at one time. These buildings would use an alternating schedule. One group of students would attend in-person Mondays and Tuesdays while a second group attends Thursdays and Fridays. On the days students are not in the physical school building, they will complete lessons and assignments from home. 

If COVID-19 conditions do not improve in the Charleston region, a "temporary remote" model will be activated. Students would start the school year learning from home until they could eventually return to the classroom as COVID-19 conditions improve. 

Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait told board members Monday that she anticipated that students will likely start the year using this temporary remote option due to the high level of disease activity in the area. 

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Option 2: Students would enroll in the school district's virtual academy. They would receive all of their instruction online from CCSD teachers and their classmates would likely be students from all across the district.

Elementary and middle school students would need to commit to participating in the virtual academy for at least nine weeks. Students taking high school courses would need to commit to at least one semester of virtual instruction. 

Students would receive some face-to-face instruction with teachers using video streaming platforms, but would also be expected to complete some independent work. 

The Charleston County School Board finalized the district's reopening plan earlier this week, vowing to reopen schools only if there's a "sustained downward reduction in COVID-19 infection rates." 

Under that plan, students' first day of school will be Sept. 8, three weeks later than originally planned. Teachers will return to work on Aug. 11. 

More information about the district's reopening plans and student enrollment options can be found at ccsdschools.com. 

Contact Jenna Schiferl at 843-937-5764. Follow her on Twitter at @jennaschif.

Jenna Schiferl was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina. She has worked as an education reporter for The Post and Courier since 2019.

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