HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Officials with Horry County Schools will meet Monday to decide if students return to school later this month as planned or continue distance learning.
The school district announced in December students would move to remote learning for two weeks after returning from winter break.
As it stands, students are expected to return to the classroom on Jan. 19. But that day essentially means nothing until a decision is made Monday.
Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson said their promise to parents and students is to give them a full week to work with the decision made.
“We have to have the teachers there, the cafeteria staff there, we have to have the custodial, bus drivers, it’s a big puzzle to put together,” Richardson said. “Right when you think you have everything in place, you’ll have an outbreak with cafeteria worker, then you have to go through quarantine. Sometimes it’s not the Covd that’s hurting as bad as it is the quarantine.”
The decision to have distance learning after winter break was because of the possible uptick in COVID-19 cases from time spent with loved ones over the holiday.
The latest data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control shows the virus is ‘high spread’ through South Carolina.
Teacher advocacy group S.C. for ED is urging state leaders to keep school learning fully virtual.
In a letter shared online, the group cited the high spread of the virus across the state. The group said it’s reprehensible to sacrifice the health of teachers by fostering an incorrect narrative of ‘learning loss’ in the midst of a global pandemic.
However, not everyone feels this way, including some students and parents.
Some of the frustrations about continued remote learning from parents and students are about the drop in grades and time management.
Conway High School senior Jada Wells is a hybrid student. She said she’s lost hope in experiencing a lot of the best memories from senior year, but she’s ready to be back in the classroom where she believes she’s receiving a better education.
“Being at home it’s a weird schedule because doing the online work, you’re not having a real lecture, you’re not actually learning the new stuff,” Wells said. “We start new lectures and units while we’re at home, so we’re just learning all new content and we’re not getting what we usually would in an actual classroom which makes it even harder.”
It’s important to note the students are still in first semester.
Wells said this is another challenge for her because she’s taking college classes that started second semester Monday.
For Horry County Schools, second semester begins in February, which is also when the students who decided to make the switch to either hybrid or virtual will change.
One mom whose children will switch to hybrid said she’s looking forward to her students returning to the classroom because of socialization but also for the grades.
“Their grades have drastically declined,” HCS parent Kristen Saurini said. “Both of my kids are A/B honor roll students and they have always done super good in school, never had to worry about their grades at all and now I have a sixth grader who’s barely passing all of his classes and a tenth grader who is failing some of his classes.”
The Horry County School Board work session is set to begin at 6 p.m. Monday.