About 22% of Horry County Schools students in quarantine; board chairman gives statement

Back to School

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct which schools will be switching to virtual. Conway High School will be moving to virtual learning for two weeks.

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — About 22% of Horry County Schools students are in quarantine, according to data from the district.

As of Wednesday, 10,000 students are in quarantine, which is about 22% of the district’s approximately 45,000 students, according tot he district. The district now has 980 student cases of COVID-19, which is about 2% of students.

Loris Middle School and Conway High School announced this week that students will move to virtual learning for the next two weeks.

Horry County Schools Board Chairman Ken Richardson posted a statement to his Facebook page Wednesday for parents.

Richardson said he’s been in contact with Dr. Brannon Traxler, director of public health with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to see what can be done to shorten the amount of time students are in quarantine.

Richardson also said Superintendent Rick Maxey is in Columbia meeting with school superintendents to discuss ways to deal with COVID-19 in schools.

He also addressed requiring masks in schools. He said the district is waiting for a ruling from the South Carolina Supreme Court on Proviso 1.108, which prohibits districts from using state funds to require masks. The supreme court began hearing arguments Tuesday but has not yet made a ruling.

Read Richardson’s full statement below:

A Message for All Parents of HCS Students

I want to welcome everyone back for the start of the 2021-22 school year. Back in June, we thought that this school year would be very different, and COVID-19 would be behind us. Unfortunately, with the Delta variant, the virus has made a comeback, and we are having to take steps to deal with it again. That’s why recently some of our schools had to move to distance learning for a two-week period.

That being said, as board chairman, I want to take this opportunity to briefly share with you information about where we are at this time. First of all, I have been in contact with Dr. Brannon Traxler, SCDHEC Director of Public Health. We are working with her to determine what we can possibly do to shorten student and staff member quarantines. Second, Dr. Maxey is in Columbia today meeting with S.C. school superintendents, and they will be discussing ways to deal with COVID-19 and keep students safe and in school. Finally, on the question of requiring masks in schools, we are all waiting on the S.C. Supreme Court’s decision regarding the proviso passed by the S.C. Legislature and signed into law by Governor McMaster. This law prohibits schools from using state funds to enforce mask mandates. The Supreme Court hearing on this law began yesterday, so hopefully, we will hear a decision soon.

In closing, I want you to know that the board and district administration are working hard to address these areas. On behalf of the board, 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. While this is all that I have to share with you at this time, I will pass along to you any new information when it becomes available.

View Horry County Schools COVID-19 dashboard here.

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