COVID-19, Year 2: As the school year begins in Sumter School District, Principal Wells moves to Rafting Creek Elementary School


REMBERT – As the debate continues to swirl at the state level over mask warrants for children given the COVID-19 outbreak, Tuesday was the first day of school for students in the Sumter School District.

Here at Rafting Creek Elementary School, first-grade principal Brandon Wells called it “unprecedented moments” for education, but his school is ready to put in place efforts to mitigate the problems. virus and calls Rafting Creek a “diamond in the rough”.

Each classroom in the small primary school is equipped with personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes and shields, and masks are available for all students and strongly encouraged. Deep cleaning takes place regularly at the school, and all teachers and staff make sure to space students out, he added, as the district begins the year with traditional face-to-face instruction.

Wells said his biggest hope is that children can stay in school all year round, but no one knows for sure, given the fluctuating levels of COVID-19.

Another major hope for Wells, he said, is that his teachers can engage students in the school in effective learning.

“I know many students have lost a lot to the pandemic, so I hope our teachers can be energized and reach out to our students,” Wells said. “No matter the circumstances, to reach students and make them grow.”

Overall, Wells wants to change the perception of outsiders on Rafting Creek, and – he said – because the school has some of the best teachers in the district and a strong community base, he believes it can be done. .

Because the size of the faculty and staff is small – he’s the only administrator in the building – Wells said he knew it would take a collective effort, but he was motivated for the task.

During his 13th year in the district, Wells said, he believes his years in the classroom as a college conductor and later as an assistant principal helped prepare him for the post of direction.

“I never forgot what it takes to be a teacher,” Wells said, “so I understand all the difficulties of discipline and teaching every day. I really strive to serve teachers for me. ‘make sure they have everything they need to be successful in the I really want to make any school I am in a great place for teachers and also for students. “

At a news conference in Columbia on Tuesday, state superintendent Molly Spearman said she disagreed with Gov. Henry McMaster, saying school districts should be able to enforce masks.


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