BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) – The report card is in for South Carolina schools, and the numbers show COVID-19 had a big effect on education.

“They (students) may have had COVID hit in their family. They may have been sick themselves. Mom and Dad may have lost their jobs to others whose parents were able to work and have a fairly normal year,” said South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.

In Beaufort County, 45% of students met or exceeded standards in English and 39% in math.

Those numbers are down more than 8% in elementary and middle school math and 6% in high schools compared to 2018-2019.

“Those numbers represent schools, school leaders, the teachers who work with our students,” explained Beaufort County School District (BCSD) Chief of Instructional Services Dr. Mary Stratos.

BSCD officials say COVID-19 has affected the classes and students’ ability to learn.

“We do see the schools that had a higher percentage throughout the year of virtual learners are the schools that are demonstrating the greatest need,” said Daniel Fallon, BCSD Director of Accountability. “The schools that had the highest percentage of highest on-campus learning we are seeing a correlation between their performance and being on campus.”

“We can’t control for a global pandemic. The testing environment has changed, the home environment has changed, the stress levels have changed on everyone in the system.”

The numbers are actually above the state’s average in those categories. Graduation rates officials say are higher than at any time in the last decade.

Comparing data before and during a pandemic may not be fair, but officials know work needs to be done.

“We have started with a greater amount of interventions in the area of tiered support of our schools,” said Dr. Stratos. “We have put a new team together of our executive directors who are working without deputy superintendent with regard to school monitoring, school leadership. Putting in place academic resources for daytime intervention as well as after school intervention.”

“We know our parents send us their best. And I want to assure them our schools are doing their best every day because it is your child in front of our teachers.”

“You give us the opportunity to service your children,” said Stratos. “I don’t know anyone else that does that, and it really is our why is to make sure our kids get the public education they deserve.”

In other parts of the Lowcountry — only 17% of Jasper County students met or exceeded standards in English and 11% in math.

Hampton County was just below the state average at 36% and 31%.

There were no letter grade rankings for schools as in past years. The state school superintendent’s office cited the different levels and modes of instruction making it an unfair playing field.

The full report can be found HERE: screportcards.ed.sc.gov

School report card shows COVID-19 detrimental to Lowcountry students

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