HCS elementary schools go back to traditional learning structure

HCS elementary schools go back to traditional learning structure

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Elementary school classrooms in Horry County had twice as much learning underway Monday.

Students at the 28 elementary schools in Horry County Schools returned to more traditional, face-to-face learning that will happen five-days-a-week.

It’s the first time since mid-March when schools around the state went entirely virtual.

“He’s excited to get back on schedule,” said C.C. Crolley, a parent of a student at Myrtle Beach Primary School. “I think it will be good for him. I know it’ll be good for the parents.”

“With this age, it’s kind of harder for parents at home with their work and trying to get their work done,” added fellow parent Vaishali Patel.

Crolley and Patel were two of a few hundred parents who pushed the line of cars onto 29th Avenue North.

With all students except those enrolled virtually back in the classroom five days a week, it’s the first time that many parents have been in that line in nearly a year.

“Anything they’re doing to open schools back up to kids full time, I appreciate that,” said Patel.

Crolley said he’s happy the students are going back full time too, but he’s not a fan of the plexiglass dividers.

“He comes home and he cries,” said Crolley. “He can’t hear his teacher. He has a hard time asking questions. He feels enclosed.”

Myrtle Beach Primary School Principal Michelle Greene-Graham says the school is doing what it can to make the children feel comfortable with the plexiglass.

“We have children who are in their cubicle or their office like many of their parents are and we clean up our desk and our area before we leave for the day,” said Greene-Graham.

Greene-Graham says she visited every classroom Monday morning to see how the transition was going.

She says teachers were doing ice breakers so the kids from A-day could get to know kids from B-day under the hybrid structure.

Greene-Graham also explained that letting the children socialize has become a priority to start this semester.

“If you borrow time to provide additional instruction, never borrow the social-emotional community circle time because kids need that opportunity to be kids,” said Greene-Graham.

She says, for the most part, everything is happening in homeroom to limit hallway time. They have all of the STEM, art and music programs going to the classrooms where the students are.

They’ve even assigned areas on the playground - five different area zones the children rotate through for more social distancing.

While most things went smoothly, Myrtle Beach Primary did have a small hiccup when it came to eating lunch in the classrooms.

”The trash cans have not been as heavy because we had half the amount of children,” said Greene-Graham. “When you bring in 700 children, those trash cans get heavy fast. Literally, after the first lunch, our custodians couldn’t lift the cans, and they were dripping and leaking and all that good stuff. That we had not planned for.”

She says they made an announcement to have the kids start dumping milk and juice containers in the sink before throwing them away.

From an instructional standpoint, Greene-Graham hopes the change will be as beneficial for the teachers as it is for the students.

“Our teachers have been doing double-duty, teaching kids in front of them Monday-Thursday, but at the same time providing work for those days kids weren’t with us,” she said. “For our teachers, it’s a sigh of relief because they can just focus on school, rather than two separate schools, really.”

Greene-Graham says the school had 40 students switch from virtual back to brick and mortar, so the school set friendship as its life skill last week to help welcome those kids back to the classrooms.

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