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Aynor Middle School moving to distance learning as COVID-19 cases rise at school

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 12:55 PM EDT
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AYNOR, S.C. (WMBF) – Aynor Middle School announced on Friday it is moving to a distance learning model as COVID-19 cases rise at the school.

Starting on Monday, students will transition to distance learning for a two-week period. During the two-week period of distance learning, all afterschool activities, including sports, practices and/or club meetings are canceled.

Horry County Schools’ COVID-19 dashboard shows there are 64 active student cases and three active staff cases at Aynor Middle School.

There are two staff members in quarantine, but it’s not clear how many students are in quarantine since the district does not provide that information on the dashboards.

During the HCS meeting earlier this week, officials said they are looking at ways to keep track of the student quarantines.

COVID-19 COVERAGE | Horry County Schools COVID-19 Dashboard

“Our review of the district’s most current COVID-19 data indicate that Aynor Middle School’s ability to serve students has been negatively impacted both by the number of positive COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of staff and student quarantines,” the school said in a social media post.

All Aynor Middle School employees who are not under quarantine will report to the school on Monday to perform their job responsibilities, according to the school.

Parents are also being told to call the Aynor Middle School cafeteria on Monday before 10 a.m. to request meals for the two-week period. The number for the cafeteria is 843-358-7100. Each order will include breakfasts and lunches.

“It’s frustrating because I want her to meet kids and she can’t because of the quarantine and the virtual,” said one Aynor Middle School parent who didn’t want to share her name.

That parent says her daughter just started at the school, but didn’t get too much of an opportunity to make new friends.

After the second day of school, she was asked to quarantine.

Now all of her classmates will join her - the school will go virtual for two weeks starting Monday.

“We try to do the right thing, and then parents send sick kids to school,” said the parent.

Horry County Schools hasn’t started reporting student quarantines yet, but district spokesperson Lisa Bourcier says that number could be well into the hundreds for Aynor Middle.

She says the cohort rule the district is using for contact tracing could be impacting the quarantine numbers substantially.

“If you have three positive individuals, in a group setting like a classroom, within 14 days, that entire classroom has to go out,” said Bourcier. “So, very likely there could’ve been several of those instances as well.”

Bourcier says the district made the decision after watching the case number climb higher and higher throughout the week, which means if a similar trend were to start at another school, the district could look into shutting it down as well.

“That may not be the only school within the next couple of weeks,” she said. “As we see these numbers come in, day-by-day, this particular decision could happen to other schools within our district.”

Bourcier says the district will handle these decisions on a school-by-school basis.

That means there’s no fixed number of positive cases that will lead to a closure.

It just depends on each school’s ability to operate.

Face-to-face learning at Aynor Middle School will resume Sept. 13.

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