HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Horry County Schools is moving right along with its reopening plans for thousands of brick and mortar students.
During Monday’s night board of education meeting, school leaders said Myrtle Beach, Socastee and Forestbrook middle schools are on track to phase into five days of face-to-face instruction, starting Thursday.
The district said those three middle schools are in a position to begin full-time learning on the school grounds because plexiglass barriers are now installed inside all the classrooms.
Superintendent Dr. Rick Maxey said in the coming days, the district will announce additional middle schools that will be in a position to implement five days of face-to-face learning for its traditional learning students.
During his report, Maxey said a delay in shipments from Houston, Texas, which was hit with severe winter weather last week, slowed down the installation schedule for some schools, but they intend to put up their barriers this week.
Daryl Brown, chief officer of support services, said the district intends to have installations completed at all middle schools by Friday. He added that they’re still on schedule to complete the high schools by March 15.
All elementary school students in the brick-and-mortar program are back in school five days a week since classrooms have plexiglass installed.
Although some parents are in favor of the plexiglass barriers, others are continuing their fight against the installations.
“It’s ridiculous,” said parent Justin Yarbrough.
Yarbrough has a child in Horry County Schools. He started a petition against the installations that has now reached about 1,500 signatures.
During Monday night’s board meeting, Yarbrough told the board he wasn’t happy with the district’s decision to consider face-to-face learning in a plexiglass environment.
“It’s not required, it’s suggested,” Yarborough said.
His opinion didn’t change after seeing a presentation from Maxey about the barriers, showing photos of what the plexiglass looks like inside several elementary and middle schools.
Maxey then said the district will continue to follow DHEC’s guidance on how to safely move to five days of face-to-face learning, further stating the process was going smoothly for students. Plexiglass installations is one of the recommendations from the health agency.
For some parents, plexiglass is a step in the right direction for their kids.
But for parents like Yarbrough, their disapproval of the barriers will more than likely, not change.
“I’m going to continue to push [against it],” Yarbrough said.
In addition to the plexiglass, Horry County Schools also provided an update about spring sports.
The district said as of Monday, the district has 130 teams that will be played during the spring.
School leaders said COVID-19 safety precautions enforced during the fall and winter season will be continue to be followed for all sporting events. That means spectators must continue to practice social distancing and wear a mask.
Seating capacity has been determined by the schools for the different venues for the sporting events.
The district said the online ticketing method will continue to be used for spring sports.