HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - After 11 months of only attending classes virtually or just in person two days a week, Horry County elementary school students are headed back to the classroom full-time starting Monday.
“Even though they don’t typically get COVID, or get as sick usually, there’s still that potential,” parent Cindi David said.
The potential to get sick has her River Oaks fifth-grader nervous about heading back to school with everyone else on Monday morning.
“He’s like, now there’s more people in our classroom and more chances to be exposed, why are we doing this?” she explained.
There are countless others who share this concern. The 2021 year started with children district-wide learning from home full-time for two weeks following winter break. The past 11 months have been an endless cycle of hybrid and online learning.
But Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson said he’s confident the classrooms are safe.
“I have said from the beginning I wanted to do everything as safely as I could. I’m not nervous, I think we’ve tried to do everything we can,” Richardson said.
That involves large plexiglass barriers between each and every desk, controversial to many parents and teachers, but Richardson said he’s visited the classrooms and said students will still be able to learn.
“I think there’s a lot of children who will be spending the next month kind of getting acclimated back to being in school, learning and being around other kids,” Richardson said.
For mother of four, Candi Ellis, there’s even mixed emotions between her own kids.
“My second grader is probably more excited than my fourth grader. He’s like, ‘I get to see friends that I haven’t seen in so long,’” Ellis said.
She said she’s optimistic about how this will get her kids back on track with learning. However, she has her own questions and concerns and would have liked to see pictures of her kid’s classrooms with the plexiglass up.
“Are they going to be comfortable enough, are they going to be able to absorb the information? Are they going to be able to learn properly?” Ellis asked.
Richardson also said he knows a lot of people wanted to see teachers vaccinated before full-time in-person learning started back up. Earlier this month, the district said about half of their employees are interested in getting the vaccine.