MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - In March, the global COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools across South Carolina, leading to students finishing the school year online.
Now, after months of planning, school districts are welcoming back students Tuesday for the first time in months.
Some will begin the school year virtually, while some are starting with a hybrid model.
Horry County Schools, Florence School District 1, and Darlington County Schools are a few of the many districts returning to class in some capacity.
For those in Horry County, employees, parents and students are required to go through a pre-screening checklist to complete everyday before arriving at school.
Schedules, getting back into routines and packing lunches, it’s all part of the first day of school.
While sending children off to school with a lunch box is nothing new, the way parents go about packing it will be.
Right now, keeping to yourself and not sharing is huge. For those with elementary-aged students there are simple tricks to pack their meals. A big way to keep the social distance is to pack easy-to-open items.
This can include flip-top water bottles, Tupperware food holders, Ziplock bags or twist-off snacks.
Some items parents want to steer of are items children would need help opening, like juice boxes or individual chip bags.
Parents who aren’t planning to pack for their child need to be aware of changes to school meals.
Cafeterias won’t have any self-serve food or beverages, and meals will be individually wrapped or handed directly to students.
For any unique situation like homebound students, cafeterias will have boxed or bagged meals as alternatives.
When it comes to things like plates and utensils that can’t be thrown out, they will be washed with hot water and soap.
Students in Florence School District One can also expect to see some changes as they walk into their classrooms Tuesday morning.
At North Vista Elementary School, for example, students will first clean their hands at the sanitization station at the front of the classroom.
Students will then put their things inside of a cubby and take a seat at a desk labeled either A or B, depending on the student’s cohort under FSD1′s hybrid learning model
North Vista Elementary second-grade teacher Felisa Cannon also made individual supply packets for each student so they won’t need to share materials with other classmates
She said there will also be frequent cleaning throughout the school day.
“Periodically throughout the day and also our custodians will be coming back and forth in our classroom, and also cleaning the bathrooms and other necessary areas so that it is a safe environment for the kids,” Cannon said.
FSD1 is also giving students an opportunity to transition from the virtual academy to the hybrid model. Parents have until Oct. 8 to apply to transition learning models.