Horry County parent wants more flexibility with hybrid learning model

Horry County parent wants more flexibility with hybrid learning program

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - One Horry County mother is speaking out about the school district’s decision to stick with the hybrid learning model.

Cindy Johnson has two children enrolled in the ‘brick and mortar’ program, both in the elementary and middle school level. Johnson believes parents should have the option to move students to five days of learning at home.

This comes as coronavirus cases rise across the Grand Strand. Over the last two weeks, athletes from three Horry County schools were forced to quarantine after being exposed to the virus. This has some parents like Johnson deeply concerned.

Johnson says based on the COVID numbers and cases being identified in schools, she feels remote learning is the safest option for some families, including her kids.

She wrote a letter to Horry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Maxey last week, wanting to know if the district would allow parents to switch from brick and mortar into the digital learning program immediately.

Johnson says she chose the traditional learning program based on the district’s original reopening plan. It called for five days of learning if the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control put Horry County in the high spread category for COVID-19.

Leaders with Horry County Schools made the decision two weeks ago to keep students on the hybrid model. For most, that means two days of face-to-face instruction. But for Johnson, she said those two-days of traditional learning may need to be virtual.

“I think virtual would be best, just out of an abundance of caution,” Johnson said.

During this school year, Johnson has received two letters from DHEC notifying her about positive cases in both her children’s classrooms and schools. She says the virus threat is just hitting too close to home.

[My son] wasn’t [considered] a close contact, the same as my daughter," Johnson said. “I know the school board is responsible for making decisions. I think we [parents] should play a bigger role in the decisions being made because we see the same information they do.”

Not every parent agrees.

Laura Inkpen also has a daughter enrolled in brick and mortar program. She supports the district’s plans to continue with the hybrid model.

“[My daughter] struggles as it is and she already have some focus problems,” Inkpen said. “Without her having an actual teacher there all the time to help her, she’s been a little lost. I feel good about [the hybrid model]. We need structure and consistency, that’s the main thing with kids.”

WMBF News reached out to Horry County Schools to learn if parents would have the option to switch programs before December. A spokesperson said parents will have a choice to change their kid’s program at the end of the first semester.

Johnson says she feels a lot can change between now and December because of how fluid the COVID-19 pandemic has been.

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