HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - As Horry County Schools opens its doors to a new school year, buses will be back out on the roads carrying thousands of students to and from school.
Horry County is the largest school district in the state, serving about 44,000 students. School officials are expecting nearly 400 new students for the 2019-20 year.
The district says more than 400 school buses will travel over 1,300 routes on Horry County roads in the morning and afternoon. For the first few weeks, school staff will be making sure all students are on the correct bus and drivers are getting used to the new routes. Because of this, some delays are expected so district officials are asking everyone to pack some patience.
Many parents will be dropping off their children at schools. If you are, keep in mind there will be increased traffic in school-zone areas, so it's a good idea to leave your home early. Even if you aren't planning to drop off or pick up a student, you need to be extra careful and alert on the roads.
“We ask not only patience from our parents and our students, but also the public too. A lot of people come from different states and move to Horry County and a lot of the laws and regulations are different from state to state," said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County Schools spokesperson. "So it’s important that they brush themselves up on bus safety as well and make sure they know how to appropriately stop safely for school buses on the roads.”
New this year, due to previous events, the district increased makeup days from three to five. When it comes to hiring more teachers, school officials say a majority of the vacancies are already filled. Going into the new school year, schools in Horry County are almost fully staffed with about 50 open positions left. Safety is of course at the top of the list for school officials.
“A big change for safety and security came last year when we added additional armed security officers to our elementary schools. So going into the school year, we will have armed security at all of our school location sites," Bourcier said. "We do have cameras, not only on our buses, but on our interior and exterior of our schools. We also have metal detectors that our students walk through at the middle school and high school level. We do have those metal wands that are used at the elementary school if needed,” said Bourcier.