Horry County Schools consider possibility of in-person graduation ceremonies for students

Horry County School Board considering in-person graduations

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County Schools are reconsidering whether in-person graduation ceremonies can truly happen.

In an unprecedented move, the board unanimously voted to meet again next Monday, in the hopes of finding a resolution for giving senior students a graduation celebration worth remembering.

The Board of Education is leaning on high school principals for best “graduation ceremony” practices.

“The high school principals can put together a menu of what that looks like," said HCS Superintendent Dr. Rick Maxey.

The board will then examine those ideas to see if that graduation can realistically happen, following the guidelines of Gov. Henry McMaster’s emergency order.

Days ago, the board posted on social media that seniors would be honored with a pre-recorded video online. And according to some board members, parents in their districts weren’t too pleased.

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So, school leaders are going back to the drawing board to try and find ways to celebrate the major milestone.

“Such as putting your students six feet apart, or using your nurses to check temperatures and live stream for families that can’t be present at the ceremony," HCS board member Janice Morreale

Morreale said the board is waiting to receive the State Department of Education’s “best practice guidelines,” which could assist the board with making a final decision. The board hopes to receive those best practices from the department in the coming days, before the next board meeting.

Prior to the board’s meeting, the HCS Facilities Committee met to discuss the status of numerous projects for the schools.

The committee was happy to report that site clearing is slated to start in May for the New Horry County Education Center project. And they remain on schedule to start classes in August 2021.

But there were a few concerns brought up during the meeting, that came back to one word: funding.

The committee expressed concerns about the capital budget which is funded largely by local sales tax, which could be impacted due to shutdowns from COVID-19.

“Based on projections, that has been provided to us by our consultant and chief financial officer, we appear to be doing very well through 2019-2020, however looking beyond that is very uncertain," said HCS board member Neil James.

The committee briefly discussed the concerns to the remaining board members for their consideration during the education meeting.

The next virtual board of education meeting will take place next Monday, May 4 at 6 p.m.

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