Horry County Schools responds to petition to stop installing more plexiglass barriers

Horry County Schools responds to petition to stop installing more plexiglass barriers
HCS install plexiglass inside all Aynor Elementary classrooms (Source: Jon Dic)

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County Schools has responded following an online petition circulating that calls for the district to stop installing plexiglass barriers for students.

The petition asks the district to stop barriers from being installed at more schools until certain issues are resolved. Among those being that background checks are performed on outside contractors who are installing the plexiglass.

In a statement Friday, HCS said it contracted three local businesses and vendors to install the barriers.

“Our vendors are contractually obligated to hire skilled workers, complete a background check on each employee, and enforce HCS policy compliance while on our campuses,” the district said. “While our vendors may be looking for additional staffing for such a large job, they must meet our requirements or forfeit the contract.”

HCS also said that installation of the plexiglass is being conducted after school hours and on the weekends to prevent classroom interruptions. Any work on a school day, which includes unpackaging and pre-assembly, would occur in a general area that is not used, according to the district.

Signees also want HCS to seek approval from the State Fire Marshal for classrooms that already have, and will be getting the plexiglass barriers. The district said it is working with “all regulatory agencies as required by local and state statutes.”

HCS added that the specifications and parameters for the plexiglass were set by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, as well as the state’s education department.

“HCS followed these guidelines and procedures in regards to plexiglass in schools. HCS will also continue to follow the guidelines/regulations set forth by South Carolina statutes,” the district said.

District officials also said the plexiglass installation is complete at elementary schools and is now being installed at middle schools before moving on to high schools. HCS elementary students are scheduled to return to face-to-face learning five days a week.

The $5 million being spent on the project was funded through the CARES Act and the South Carolina Department of Education.

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