Most SC students will return to class in less than a month

FORT MILL, S.C. — Most K-12 South Carolina students will return to class in less than a month, but some parents are keeping their children home for another year to learn virtually.

Last year in Fort Mill, about 30% of students signed up for remote learning, which is down to about 3% this year.

Some parents who are keeping their kids at home are concerned about COVID-19.

[PAST COVERAGE: SC superintendent approves local school districts’ reopening plans]

Parent Carrie Gutzwiller said her 10-year-old daughter decided to stay in the virtual academy because she thrived in it.

“It was such a great experience,” Gutzwiller said. “The teachers were wonderful and she learned a lot more.

Students enrolled in virtual academies:

  • Rock Hill: 1,300
  • Fort Mill: 500
  • York: 100
  • Clover: 200
  • Chester: 48
  • Lancaster: 200
  • Chesterfield: 189

[LINK: SC Virtual Program Reviews Overview]

Parent Tiffany Douglas, of Rock Hill, is keeping is a proponent of virtual learning during a pandemic.

“Because the pandemic is still here,” she said. “It’s not gone.”

Mask requirements no longer exist as well as plexiglass shields at some schools.

Enrollment in virtual only school is way down for this fall. All seven of the districts have enrolled less than 10% of their students in virtual learning. Some are at 3%.


Derek McQuiston, who heads the elementary virtual academy in Rock Hill, said concerns about COVID-19 aren’t the only reason some families are signing up for the course again.

“We had a number of families that participated in virtual last year,” he said. “Perhaps because of the pandemic who said, ‘You know what? This has been a really great fit for our family.’”

(Watch video below: Rock Hill Schools to hold emergency meeting after McMaster allows mask opt-out for kids)