Grand Strand, Pee Dee, North Carolina schools deal with omicron surge

Local News

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Like many other organizations, schools across the area are dealing with absences and staff quarantines as the omicron variant spreads across the country.

“We were prepared for these two weeks,” Florence 1 Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said. “We knew the surge would be coming.”

O’Malley said since last week, the district has seen an average of 246 staff absences. 93 have tested positive for COVID-19. O’Malley said the percentage of teachers out, though, is not much higher than a typical November or December.

“All I have to say, my staff, my principals have done an unbelievable job of ensuring that schools are open,” he said. “Learning is taking place. And everyone is chipping in to cover classes and do things to make a normal school day.”

Florence School District Three in lower Florence County announced that Friday and Tuesday will be remote learning days in response to the surge of cases.

Horry County Schools officials said if it had to change a learning model, it would do that with a school-by-school basis.

“We do have a number of substitutes,” HCS spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said. “Not only substitute teachers but we have substitute bus drivers, substitute nurses, substitute cafeteria workers.”

As of Thursday morning, Horry County Schools had just under 250 staff members quarantined and around 5,400 students quarantined.

The Public Schools of Robeson County, meanwhile, said it’s full steam ahead as it faces some staffing shortages along bus routes and in cafeterias.

“We’ve had to delay some routes, even cancel some routes,” district spokesperson Dr. Gordon Burnette said. “And consolidate routes. We’re also having a lot of shortages within our cafeterias. “They may not be cafeteria workers being pulled in to make sure our students are fed.”

You can learn more about COVID-19 protocols in Horry County Schools here.

Florence 1 Schools and the Public Schools of Robeson County also have protocols posted online.

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