Parents weigh in as AccelerateED set to adopt report for schools to safely reopen

Parents weigh in as AccelerateED set to adopt report for schools to safely reopen
AccelerateED is expected to discuss feedback and adopt a final report for school districts and the public on Friday. (Source: wmbf)

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - AccelerateED is expected to discuss feedback and adopt a final report for school districts and the public on Friday.

Amber Arsenault is a “soon-to-be” Horry County Schools parent as her son is supposed to start kindergarten this upcoming school year.

“I would love for him to experience the full effect of kindergarten, you know field trips, just having that big step going into school,” Arsenault said.

When you think of the first day of school, often times you think of filling up your backpack with pens, paper and heading off to the classroom. But because of COVID-19, the next school year could change the way your child learns.

Ultimately, leaders with Horry County Schools say flexibility is key as we look toward the fall.

AccelerateED released a draft earlier this week with some recommendations for school. It includes three potential schedules depending on the status of the pandemic, which includes traditional, hybrid and full-distance learning.

Many folks have already reached out to the district to find out things like morning routines, including riding the bus.

While this is a valid concern, many answers are still “up in the air” and more concrete plans are expected in the coming weeks.

“Time is of the essence and we understand that and we’ve been working hard this summer,” said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County Schools spokesperson. “Pre-planning as well. We’ve been meeting over the last several weeks since school has been out planning for the fall, so things are definitely well underway.”

Transportation is also one of the many concerns from parents ahead of the next school year.

“There are so many children that their parents rely on the bus system, because you know they work and they’re not able to drive their child to school, and luckily I do have a flexible schedule to where I would be able to take him,” Arsenault said.

Another part of the AccelerateED draft included nurses and transportation.

Bourcier said every Horry County school has a nurse and said it’s her understanding that right now, they haven’t discussed adding additional nursing staff but do have floating nurses for those absent.

Cleaning is also a huge part of being in public spaces, and Bourcier said cleaning is an all hands on deck process and says they’re always cleaning.

Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson spoke about the guidance not to fill buses beyond 50% capacity.

“It’s like trying to put a puzzle together,” Richardson said. “What we’re doing now, we’re in a situation where we got to get these kids to school. I don’t want to be picking these kids up at four or five o’clock in the morning and dropping them off at 8 o’clock at night. We understand there’s a capacity situation, but then again if you have more buses you have to have more bus drivers so it’s trying to put everything together to make it work.”

The AccelerateED meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday.

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