Teacher calls on HCS board chair after video shows crowded classroom after plexiglass installation

Updated: Jan. 21, 2021 at 12:04 AM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Every elementary school within Horry County Schools is expected to have plexiglass dividing desks in their classrooms by Friday.

But there have been some mixed opinions from teachers about how learning will go now that the plexiglass has been installed.

Forestbrook Elementary School teacher Teresa Holmes posted a video to Facebook showing what her classroom looked like once the installation was complete.

“I have 28 desks in here right now. If we go back to 5 days a week I’ll have 30 or 32 with the kids coming back from virtual. This is the middle seat of the back row, this is their view of the board,” Holmes said in the video.

“I’m not really sure we can teach, with situations like this,” she added.

Holmes didn’t want to do an interview with WMBF News. But she did call on school leaders to take a look.

“Mr. Richardson I just have a question for the school board. Did we have a classroom of 28 desks set up? To where school board members could sit in them and see what this was really going to be like?” she said.

Horry County Schools said it won’t comment on individual staff members. The district spokesperson and school board chairman Ken Richardson declined to do an interview with WMBF News.

However, the district said in an email, teachers have the flexibility to adjust the layout of their classrooms. The district also wrote an email that they believe teachers and students have been able to adjust to having plexiglass in classrooms.

Still, those with students in Horry County Schools said the set up looks concerning.

Robert McDonald, a grandparent of a middle school student, said he’s upset his granddaughter’s classroom will look like this next.

“It looks like a prison,” he said, after watching the video Holmes shared with WMBF News.

Teacher advocacy group SC for ED provided this statement to WMBF after it watched the video:

“This setup looks like an incredibly difficult environment in which to both learn and teach. All it does is allow for students to have a spot in a classroom, not to actually be an active learner in their education. As we have stated many times during the pandemic, it also speaks to teachers’ concern about class sizes. Elementary school classrooms should have no more than 20 students to maximize learning and give students the individual attention they need in 21st century learning models.”

Still, Holmes said she’s hopeful.

“I’m going to try to learn to love this,” she added.

Horry County Schools said on Wednesday the installation of plexiglass at Socastee Elementary would be completed. They said Midland Elementary will be the last elementary school to get plexiglass installed. The district could not provide a timeline for installation for middle and high schools.

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