Horry County parents at odds over school district’s hybrid learning decision

Horry County parents at odds over school district’s hybrid learning decision

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County parents are at odds over the school district’s decision to stay in the hybrid learning model, despite the Department of Health and Environmental Control reporting a high spread of COVID-19.

Horry County Schools voted on Monday to remain with hybrid learning until full-time face-to-face learning can be implemented.

Many parents are in favor of the new plan.

“The two days that they have in school, if that’s the best we can do right now, that’s great,” parent Jeff Baltenbach said. “We should keep doing that.”

“It’s kind of a relief that we now are not waiting every single week to find out what the fate of our kids' schooling is for the following week,” parent Jennifer Williams said. “We at least have some sort of routine that we’re now staying in.”

However, some are frustrated the school district isn’t sticking with its original plan that was based on DHEC’s disease activity report.

“The original model that they had put forward and they had told parents and that gave that security to put their children in hybrid is no longer being followed,” parent Bonnie Pariseau said.

While DHEC reports Horry County as having a high COVID-19 spread, district leaders said the number of cases affecting schools is low.

According to the school district’s COVID-19 Dashboard, there are 39 current cases in Horry County schools and 154 cumulative cases as of Tuesday.

Baltenbach agreed that the district should remain hybrid; and digital learning, if needed, should be on an individual school basis.

“It’s such a large county from one end of the strand to the other and even inland that those kinds of decisions should really be made with other factors in mind,” he said.

Pariseau disagrees.

Her son attends Saint James High School, which currently has the highest number of active cases at seven in the school district and 17 cumulative cases.

“I’m also concerned because the JV football team is being entirely quarantined,” she said.

RELATED COVERAGE | HCS provides timeline of COVID-19 cases within St. James High School JV football team

Pariseau said she also received an email last week that a child tested positive in her son’s classroom.

But, the email stated since he was not within SIX feet of the student for 15 minutes or more he didn’t have to quarantine.

Another thing Pariseau disagrees with.

“I believe that they’re on their own plan now and I don’t think they’re taking into consideration the damage it could do to the students and the families that are around them,” Pariseau said.

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