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HCS board chairman addresses COVID-19 issues in district; student quarantines climb to 10K

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 4:23 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The chairman of the Horry County School Board addressed the surge in student quarantines in the district.

On Wednesday, the Horry County Schools COVID-19 dashboard showed there were 10,000 students in quarantine out of the nearly 43,400 students taking part in face-to-face learning in the district. It is 1,000 students more than the day before. It also showed there are 980 students who have tested positive for COVID-19.

MORE INFORMATION | Horry County COVID-19 Dashboard

The uptick in cases and quarantines has forced three schools in HCS to move to temporary distance learning.

Horry County School Board Chairman Ken Richardson posted information on what district leaders have been doing to address the surge.

Richardson said that he has been in contact with Dr. Brannon Traxler, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s public health director, to see what can be done about shortening student and staff quarantines.

According to DHEC, Traxler provided Richardson with shortened quarantine options for non-fully vaccinated people that are listed out in DHEC’s school guidance booklet.

The three options to reduce the duration of quarantine are:

  • 10 days of quarantine have been completed and no symptoms have been reported during daily at-home monitoring.
  • 7 days of quarantine have been completed, no symptoms have been reported during daily at-home monitoring, and the individual has received results of a negative antigen or PCR/molecular test that was taken no earlier than day 5 of quarantine.
  • A close contact who is ending quarantine early (less than 14 days) and returning to the school environment should wear a mask and follow physical distancing guidelines in order to return to in-person learning. The individual should also continue to monitor for symptoms through 14 days after the date of last exposure.

He added that Superintendent Dr. Rick Maxey went to Columbia on Wednesday to take part in a meeting with other superintendents in the state to discuss ways to deal with COVID-19 and keep students safe in school.

“I want you to know that the board and district administration are working hard to address these areas,” Richardson wrote. “I want to thank all schools’ nurses, teachers, support staff, and principals for all that they are doing to serve our Horry County students in each of their schools.”

On the masks in schools issue, he said that the district is waiting to see what the South Carolina Supreme Court decides.

South Carolina’s highest court heard arguments Tuesday morning on Proviso 1.108, an item in the state budget that was passed by lawmakers in June, that prohibits schools from using state funds to enforce mask mandates.

The court adjourned without making a ruling, and there’s no word on when it will issue a ruling.

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