MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - As COVID-19 cases rise statewide and across the nation, Horry County Schools joins the growing list of South Carolina public school districts returning to virtual-only learning following the winter break.
The announcement was made right as students were sent home for the holidays. Virtual learning for Horry County students will go from Jan. 4 through Jan. 15.
“Today was really just another email,” said Katherine Wilson, a parent of an Horry County student.
Wilson said she’s frustrated with the lack of communication coming out of the district about the return to virtual learning. HCS officers were closed over the holiday.
She said, as a working single mother of two, the next two weeks will be challenging.
“How to use Zoom systems, how to go between the programs, not only to do that with one student but to do that with two,” Wilson said.
Wilson said it wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that she received any information from her children’s teachers. She added she’d like to have some guidance come down from the district itself.
The district announced Sunday athletic programs will be suspended as well. There will be no practice for winter sports until Jan. 11, and no conditioning for spring sports or any competitions until Jan. 19.
Lakewood parent Doug Smith said he gets why school is virtual, but added he also felt like he was left in the dark waiting for information throughout the winter break.
“The school board knew they were doing this, so they should have had a plan and given it to the teachers before so we could have had the whole two weeks before to know what’s happening,” Smith said.
District spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said parents should have information from teachers about virtual learning prior to Jan. 4.
Wilson, however, said she still feels left in the dark.
“Communication is key. That’s all parents are asking for, is some guidance and communication,” she said.
The district added they anticipate a rise in staff and student COVID-19 cases following the winter break, as they saw that happen over the Thanksgiving holiday. HCS officials added they are also switching to virtual learning due to not being able to track data over the break.
District officials have not given any information about what it would take to keep the school in the virtual learning model after the two weeks are up.