Construction on plexiglass barriers at Horry County schools set to start Nov. 20

HCS releases timeline on when students can switch learning programs for spring semester

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – There has been a slight delay in the installation of plexiglass barriers at Horry County schools.

The plexiglass workstations will be installed around desks and would help enable five days of face-to-face instruction.

Daryl Brown, the chief officer of support services with the school district, provided an update on Monday during the Board of Education meeting.

He said his facility staff has been hard at work delivering thousands of sheets of plexiglass frames to elementary schools. Brown added that deliveries will continue into the coming weeks.

The installation was expected to start on Friday, Nov. 13 but some vendor issues delayed construction until Friday, Nov. 20.

“A local firm will provide the manpower to assemble and install the barriers in all classrooms when students are not in school because we do not want to impede the instructional time. We anticipate completion at all elementary schools by Dec. 23, then we will move to middle schools and high schools in that order,” Brown said.

School board chairman Ken Richardson asked how soon all schools would be done with the installation process. Daryl said he needed to research and see how much time the assembly process takes.

“I would hate to commit to something, and you come back in a couple of weeks and say that’s not what you told me. So, let’s get started on the elementary schools and let’s see how it flows and hopefully at the next board meeting I can provide you with a better time frame,” Brown said.

Board member Helen Smith asked if full-time face-to-face instruction could begin individually at each school once the installation is complete, or if all elementary schools would have to wait and start at the same time.

Superintendent Rick Maxey stepped in and said they could not provide a specific answer because it’s a fluid situation.

Richardson backed up Maxey and said it will be up to him and his staff to determine when full-time face-to-face learning will happen at schools.

“When the kids start going back five days a week will be left up to Dr. Maxey and his staff. I do know we have a situation where we’ve got to let the parents know five days in advance,” Richardson said. “I can assure you we’re listening to parents we want to do it the safest way. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out we’re not spending $5 million to leave the children sitting at home.”

The $5 million being spent on the plexiglass barriers is being funded through the state department and CARES Act. Brown clarified that no Horry County Schools' money is being used on the plexiglass barriers.

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