HCS parents sound off on new changes for the 2021-2022 school year

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 7:50 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - We’re learning more about what your child’s classroom will look like next year.

Horry County Schools announced on Monday night that all plexiglass barriers will be removed from classrooms during the summer months.

The district installed the barriers using $5 million in CARES Act funds, before transitioning students into full-time face-to-face learning in the classrooms.

One mother said she’s opposed to the district’s decision to remove the barriers. She feels the plexiglass could better protect her child in the face-to-face learning environment.

However, a number of parents said they’re not bothered by the plexiglass barriers being removed.

Some even questioned if the protectors were putting limitations on their kid’s ability to interact with teachers and students in the learning environment, so they don’t have any objections to leaders removing them.

“I have mixed emotions,” said David Warner. “We haven’t gotten to the place where we’ve seen vaccinations for all the children which I think is in important to be able to move forward. Yet I also think there’s a huge need for the plexiglass to go because we have some kids who cannot hear their teachers. The plexiglass is definitely an issue.”

Others said they’ve been on the fence about the effectiveness of the barriers in their child’s classroom.

“I wasn’t big on the plexiglass to begin with,” said parent Heather Croy. “I really don’t see the point of it. They’re not seated at their desks every second of the day.”

The district also stated that face masks may or may not be required next semester. The spokesperson for HCS said if masks are not required, it will still be optional for parents to allow their kids to wear them.

Parents were recently given the option to sign a mask opt-out form for their kids towards the end of the current semester.

RELATED COVERAGE | Over 10,000 HCS students opt out of wearing masks in classrooms, district says

Some parents said they’re on board with the masks being removed.

“I actually opted out of the masks already,” Laura Inkpen said. “She was happy. She was happy to get it off because it’s itchy.”

But other parents, like Croy, said regardless of what the district decides, their kid will be masked up on the school grounds.

“If they don’t wanna wear it, they don’t wanna wear, that’s a personal option,” Croy said. “My fourth grader will be wearing his mask. My older son has asthma and I kept him home again next year because of that. So my son understands the importance of it for our family.”

Warner has two children in Horry County Schools. One of them in a special needs classroom.

He said regardless of whether face coverings are required next fall, it’s important for parents to have that right to choose, either way.

“I think it should be built off the need of the student and whatever that need looks like,” Warner said. “I think we’re not completely out of the woods until we see our kids vaccinated.”

Meanwhile, all parents that WMBF News spoke with voiced their support for the district’s plans to help students overcome learning gaps.

District leaders announced they’ve been granted $27 million in federal funds to help close the learning gap caused by the pandemic.

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