By Annie Rigby
Horry County Schools (HCS) will open to students on Tuesday, Sept. 8, with the main goal to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for all students and staff with instruction delivered in the most effective way.
Students were provided two choices to attend school. Option one is for face-to-face in school learning and option two is to attend online classes. The online instruction has limited subject choices and has been suggested that the student follow up with their guidance counselor for assistance.
HCS created the HCS Re-Opening Task Force and formulated a comprehensive plan utilizing the work of the South Carolina Department of Education’s Accelerated Task Force as well as working with the individual needs for the district. The task force was comprised of parents, students, teachers, principals and district staff who met during the summer months to discuss and study the numerous concerns needing to be addressed to provide students with a safe and healthy learning environment.
The information gathered by the task force team members was a valuable advisory resource by the district leadership to return fully to normal school operations. The guidelines with DHEC and the CDC controlled how school will open in Horry County. The latest disease activity report released on Monday, Aug. 31, from the SCDHEC shows Horry County has fallen under the Medium Spread category for COVID-19.
Loris High School, Loris Middle School, Loris Elementary School and Daisy Elementary School will welcome students to a hybrid learning environment. Face coverings are required. Students will eat breakfast and lunch in their classrooms, playtime outside will be structured games with social distancing in mind as students will be allowed to play on the playground equipment.
Visit the HCS website at https://www.horrycountyschools.net to download the 45 page pdf with details for a safe reopening of the schools. This document offers information about student transportation, meals, health procedures and more to help parents and students prepare for next week’s opening of the schools. The school calendar is located on page 47 which was approved by the
Horry County Board of Education. If parents or students require clarification of the procedures applied to the reopening documentation the HCS suggests contacting the school for assistance.
Last week, HCS said 13,377 students planned to take part in the virtual program, which is about 30 percent of the district’s student population. Registration for online virtual learning ended on Friday, Aug. 10. Under the new model students will have two face-to-face days of instruction and three days of distance learning (virtual). According to the district student schedules were available on PowerSchool on Wednesday, Sept. 2, no later than 5 p.m.
Students enrolled in a brick-and-mortar school schedule will also learn their scheduled groups through PowerSchool. Groups are separated by A and G with in person instruction on Tuesday, Sept. 8, while students in Group G will start face-to-face learning on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
HCS Board Chairman, Ken Richardson, stated that the district is prepared to start the hybrid learning. School leaders provided parents more information about classrooms and groupings on Wednesday, Sept. 3. They are working with the district and parents who have multiple children attending the Horry County Schools to keep them in the same group (A or G) where they will be in school learning and distance learning at home on the same days.
The Pathways to Back to School program directed at parents to learn more details about their children returning to both traditional and virtual learning. Parents are encouraged to keep in contact with the student’s instructor. Beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 8, the district will take attendance for all students including virtual learning. Parents can access the hybrid program bus route schedules and times on the district website.
Using patience with the district releasing information to parents and students is requested. All students have a PowerSchool account which parents may utilize to learn about their child, schedules, grades and category group A or G. We are all working together for the good of the children securing safety at the schools. This is an exciting time for many students to return to see their friends and teachers.