South Carolina Schools Chief Tests Positive For COVID-19


South Carolina Education Superintendent Molly Spearman addresses the initial gathering of accelerateSC, a group tasked with advising Gov. Henry McMaster on safely scaling the state’s economy back up amid the new coronavirus outbreak on Thursday, April 23, 2020, in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The superintendent of South Carolina’s public schools said Monday that she had tested positive for COVID-19, was experiencing “mild symptoms” but would continue to do her work from home.

In a tweet, Molly Spearman said that she learned on Sunday she had tested positive for the virus on Dec. 31 and “is fortunate to have only mild symptoms.”

Spearman said she had already been quarantining after her husband and son tested positive earlier last week. While isolating, Spearman said, “I plan to continue to work from home and meet virtually as so many others in the education community have done this school year.”

A spokesman for the Education Department said Monday that Spearman was primarily experiencing fatigue and had participated in several virtual meetings during the day.

Spearman, 66, has been chief of South Carolina’s public school system since 2015. News of her diagnosis came on the day that the state’s 780,000 public school children returned to school following the holiday break. Some schools are holding in-person instruction, while many are using a hybrid of in-person and virtual schooling amid the ongoing pandemic.

Spearman is the latest South Carolina public official who has contracted COVID-19. Just before Christmas, Gov. Henry McMaster’s office announced that the 73-year-old Republican had tested positive and would receive outpatient monoclonal antibody treatment for “mild symptoms.” His wife, 73-year-old Peggy McMaster, also tested positive but was asymptomatic.

A number of South Carolina officials, including Lt. Gov. Pam Evette and U.S. Reps. Joe Cunningham and Tom Rice, have previously contracted and recovered from COVID-19, as did Nancy Mace, the Republican who unseated Cunningham in the November election.

In mid-December, U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson also announced he had tested positive for the coronavirus, the same day he gave a floor speech in the House of Representatives.