‘It’s not fair’: Horry County parent disappointed with current learning environment options for students

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 11:22 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - More Horry County students are in quarantine, with the district’s dashboard showing more than 10,000 students out of the classroom.

It also revealed on Wednesday that there are currently more than 680 COVID-19 positive students.

Meanwhile, one father said he’s highly disappointed with how Horry County Schools is handling COVID-19 procedures in the schools.

Jeremy Nicklaw said recent statements from Horry County Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Maxey have done very little to comfort his concerns.

RELATED COVERAGE | Horry County Schools superintendent answers top COVID-19 questions in video

Jeremy Nicklaw’s son is enrolled at Myrtle Beach Elementary School. He said early in the school year, his son was sent home to quarantine. His child later tested negative for the coronavirus.

After seeing the number of quarantines in the school district, Nicklaw said he got extremely concerned about his son’s safety. This had him questioning if his son will be fully safe inside the classrooms going forward.

“It scares me, that something could happen to my son,” Nicklaw said.

He said he reached out to the school principal and was told on Wednesday that virtual learning is not an option for his child this semester.

“I’d have to wait until next semester and I needed to bring my son back to school,” he said.

This was one of the concerns that Maxey addressed in a video that was posted Tuesday night on the district’s YouTube channel. During the video he answered three of the top recurring questions the district has received from parents.

Those questions from parents included:

  • Why can’t the school board or the school district issue a mask mandate?
  • Why did Horry County Schools install plexiglass in school classrooms and then remove the plexiglass over the summer?
  • Why doesn’t Horry County Schools use the hybrid schedule like it did last year in order to address the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in our schools?

Maxey’s response to many of those concerns centered around state laws.

The first being Proviso 1.108. It states that school districts can’t use any state funds to implement a mask mandate. Maxey added the district is in no position to lose state funding so they cannot be in violation of state law.

The superintendent also said the district can only do so much because a state law signed by the governor back in April requires them to offer five days of face-to-face instruction.

“Therefore Horry County School cannot use the hybrid schedule model this year because it too would be a violation of state law,” Maxey said.

Based on those statements, Nicklaw said there was no solution offered to immediately address his concerns and he’s disappointed altogether with the district’s response.

He added he feels there’s too much focus on the funds and not helping parents like him who now prefer to keep their kids at home until the numbers go down.

“It’s not fair,” Nicklaw said.

He added that he’s exploring what other options he may have that don’t involve a face-to-face learning environment for his son.

Some parents have a different outlook after their child’s quarantines.

Brandi Roberts has a daughter who attends Aynor Middle School. That campus temporarily went virtual because of a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Roberts said those ten days of learning at home for her daughter was a challenge. She supports safety measures that help students like her child to continue learning in the classrooms.

“I’m not worried about her going to school,” Roberts said. “I want her to get her education. I think they need to go back to their normal routines, these children do.”

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