Some families of Horry County virtual students upset over perceived lack of resources

Virtual Families and Printing Concerns

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Hundreds of Horry County parents with children enrolled in virtual learning say they don’t have enough resources from the district.

Students participating in the virtual program were told they must have a printer or be able to scan and upload completed assignments to the Horry County Schools virtual system.

Some families are frustrated, as they weren’t aware of how much they’d have to print or spend.

One woman’s son is a kindergartener in the virtual program. To be safe, she chose to remain anonymous, but she said last week she printed roughly 50 pages just for her son. She said since school started, she’s already on her second ink cartridge after printing for just one course.

Other families share similar frustrations.

“I’ve already had to buy two ink cartridges, which are what like 80 bucks? I’ve had three things of paper, so I’m probably at like just a 150 right now,” one mom said.

In an email to virtual families, Horry County Schools said the following:

"The district is aware the amount of printing that may be suggested in our virtual program’s elementary curriculum. Many of the activities students may be directed to print are for practice only and may not be required by the teacher for grading purposes. The attached list of alternatives to printing may be used when appropriate. Your student’s virtual teacher with work with you to determine which printables' are required. If you have questions about which documents should be printed, please contact your child’s teacher.”

The mother of the kindergartener said their alternative is using the iPad, but she wants her five-year-old to learn how to write. In a Facebook group for virtual families, many are expressing the challenges they’re facing.

During Monday night’s school board meeting, Pamela Jakubowski spoke to the board. She has three main concerns, one of which is that students don’t have workbooks and the printing cost is adding up for many.

“For me, this is my biggest concern. I’m very lucky that my third-grader has a fantastic teacher, so luckily I haven’t been facing problems with that. But the printing is, it’s beyond a reasonable expectation," she said.

Over 500 people have signed a petition about the lack of resources for virtual families. WMBF News reached out to the Horry County Schools for comment about the petition, including the resources these parents are asking for.

Horry County Schools released the following statement:

“HCS Virtual is aware of some of the printing concerns from parents as well as the recent Change.org petition. Although we highlighted the printing requirements when introducing the HCS Virtual Program before registration, many of the activities students may be directed to print are for practice only and may not be required by the teacher for grading purposes. Virtual teachers have been working with students to determine which printables are required and providing other alternatives to printing. If parents have questions about which documents should be printed, please contact your child’s teacher.”

Jakubowski said this response is “unacceptable."

She also said going to the traditional setting isn’t an option for many students, and they’ll keep fighting for the resources they believe the district isn’t providing to virtual students.

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