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Aynor Middle starts virtual learning with the most COVID cases across school district

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 7:50 AM EDT
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AYNOR, S.C. (WMBF) - With the most COVID-19 cases among students across Horry County Schools, Aynor Middle School is now learning virtually for the next two weeks.

On Friday, the district announced the school wouldn’t return to in-person learning until Sept. 13. When the district made the announcement, the school had 67 total active cases. Of those cases, 64 were among students.

Amanda, who is a parent of a seventh-grader, said her son was sent home to quarantine last week and eventually did test positive. He’s now feeling better. She said the school nurse worked closely to walk them through the quarantine, contact tracing and testing process.

While she said it’s sad for her son to switch back to virtual so soon after being in the virtual program all year long last year, she said she understands why it had to happen.

“You know, it’s not just the students they have to protect. It’s the staff, it’s the teachers, it’s the school nurse that’s having to be in close contact with these kids and they have families that they go home to. I am grateful for what they’re doing. I am not angry. They have other children that they have to protect than just mine,” Amanda said.

There is no set number of cases to cause a school to switch to distance learning. The district says it’s done on a school by school basis, so other schools might report more or less cases before making the switch.

At the time of the announcement, no school came near to the amount of cases Aynor Middle was reporting. Conway High School had the second highest with 49 total cases. Every other school was reporting numbers in the 20s, teens, and single digits.

Right now, only staff quarantines are shown on the HCS dashboard. Student cases are shown, but not quarantines. Board members said they’re working on adding those numbers this week.

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

As for Amanda, she said she hopes this is the only time Aynor Middle is in virtual learning. However, she is worried her other children’s schools could get switched temporarily too.

“We kept them virtual all year last year when this first started so they were super excited to go back to school and talk to their friends, so that’s a bummer for them. But they also understand that this just has to be done to protect other people,” she said.

The HCS website said while students are learning from home they must check-in and communicate with their teacher and log into Google Classroom. Students should already have devices.

Parents are also being told to call the Aynor Middle 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.

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