SC governor signs 5-day-a-week in-person class measure

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signs a bill requiring schools to provide in-person classes five days a week starting April 26 and for next school year on Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. The bill also requires school districts to pay teachers extra if they have to teach both in person and online. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law Thursday a resolution requiring South Carolina schools to offer in-person classes to students five days a week starting April 26 and for all of next school year.

The measure also included a requirement that districts pay teachers more next school year if they have them directly teaching students who are in person and those online at the same time.

McMaster said with students able to be back in school five days a week, teachers can concentrate on catching up to the typical progress children would have made if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t made many classes virtual.

Between federal pandemic relief money and extra state money, schools should have the ability to give students all the remedial help they need, said Senate Education Committee Chairman Greg Hembree, R-Little River.

“It’s just going to be plain hard work. There are no shortcuts,” Hembree said.

The bill also allows retired state employees to return to public education and earn up to $50,000 and not affect their retirement benefits to help with any staffing problems with COVID-19.

Those workers could be vital to getting students back on track, state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman said.

“We need you. Please consider coming back and doing that work,” Spearman said at Thursday’s bill signing.