HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County Schools wrapped up the statewide “LEAP Days” program on Wednesday, which provided some students face-to-face instruction before the school year begins.
For the last five days, many teachers and students literally ‘leaped’ into the program together, not knowing how smooth the transition back would be because of the pandemic.
Ten Oaks Middle School Principal Ben Prince said the LEAP days at his school were a success because the plan and procedures they had in place worked.
Prince said the school invited about 200 hundred students to attend the LEAP days and 25 kids showed up. He added that the students adhered to the safety requirements during the program without any issues, which included wearing their masks and following the floor markers and signs.
“The challenge moving forward is putting these practices, guidelines and procedures in place [when more students come back],” Prince said. “So that’s what we’ll have to work on. If our LEAP day experience was any indication of how that’s going to work, then I have really good, high expectations for our group as they come back in.”
Prince said the program also helped teachers address some concerns about returning to the classrooms, and that information is critical in helping other staff members that didn’t participate in LEAP days.
“Because they’ve actually lived it, being in the classrooms,” Prince said. “The staff monitored things throughout the course of the school day. I want them to be authentic with their feedback so we can refine, be further prepared and help staff members that aren’t here now and will be joining us soon.”
Horry County parent David Warner has two kids in Horry County Schools, one of them in the special needs classroom.
Both of Warner’s sons attended the LEAP days, and he’s happy with the outcome.
“It really helped them see what schools going to look like,” Warner said. “I hate to feel like we were kind of the test subjects, but we kind of were.”
Warner said the program helped him see how the kids would adjust to face-to-face instruction during a pandemic, which included making sure his kids wore masks.
“They were able to adjust to that pretty easily,” Warner said. “Our kids are just so excited to see teachers again. They have been semi-secluded to some degree for some time. So this has been good for them.”
On Monday, Aug. 31, DHEC will release its weekly Disease Activity Report. The report will determine if Horry County Schools head back to the classroom on September 8.
If the report shows a medium COVID-19 spread, the district will have hybrid learning, which includes two days of face-to-face learning inside the schools.
But if the report shows a high spread level, students will start the school year with virtual instruction.