South Carolina – The mask mandates and the most recent Delta wave are not the only concerns for South Carolina school districts.
Although majority of parents are arguing over the mask mandates in schools recently, the school district officials are also trying the solve the teacher’s shortage issue that is slowly growing into serious issue across the state.
South Carolina schools have been seeing workers shortage in the past few years, but the situation worsened with the Covid-19 last year and the trend continues this year too.
According to the most recent information, Dorchester School District Two has had at least nine staff members resign since the beginning of the 2021 school year. Several were due to COVID-19.
“The first weekend after the first week of school, I found out that one of my classes that I had been teaching with that week had been completely quarantined, like the whole class was out. Then the fifth grade group I was with, there was like seven or eight kids missing by the end of the week,” said Meredith Mulcair, who is one of those staff members.
According to Mulcair, becoming a teacher in South Carolina school was a dream job for her, but the situation with Covid-19 is more dangerous now than it was last year and that forced her to quit her teaching job positions. She has more than 10 years experience in teaching and served as a music teacher in DD2 for over a year.
“The feeling just completely changed from week one, you know, teacher work week all the way to just the second week with the kids, doing a 180,” said Mulcair.
Just like many other teachers who resigned in these tough Covid-19 times, Mulcair was pregnant and that fact played major role in her decision to quit her job.
“I was pregnant last year in the spring as well … I felt comfortable,” she said. “This fall I did not, and so that did play a huge roll in me deciding to resign as quickly as I did. I had the vaccine, I’ve been vaccinated, I’ve had COVID, but there’s just no guarantees,” said Mulcair.
The main reason why Mulcair and other fellow teachers say this year is far more dangerous for them compared to last year is the mask mandate. While school districts struggle to enforce mask mandates due to the state law that bans mask mandates, teacher fear for their health and safety while at work.
The DD2 School Board has since sent a request to the General Assembly, asking them to repeal budget proviso 1.108 and return that power to boards across the state.
DD2’s board will discuss masking again at an upcoming board meeting on Monday September 27.