Monday’s DHEC report: Will Horry County Schools start in-person or online?

Local News

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) – Families will be able to finalize a long-awaited back-to-school plan on Monday.

On Aug. 31, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will release the report that determines how all Horry County Schools (HCS) will reopen for the first day of class on Sept. 8.

“Hopefully I will be going back to school, I am going to be starting middle school and sixth grade, Sarah ‘Adele’ Kagan, an Aynor Middle School Student, said while helping pass out free backpacks at a back-to-school drive this weekend.

How HCS students will return on the first day is based on weekly data from DHEC that monitors high, medium, and low spread levels of COVID-19 in each county. Some students are hoping for any amount of in-person instruction as it’s been seven months since they’ve seen classmates.

“The only times I got to see my friends was when we did Google Meet, and even though we were talking to each other and we could see each other, it just didn’t feel the same,” Kagan said.

The most recent report on Aug. 24 listed Horry County with medium spread, which would allow the district to open with a hybrid schedule, splitting students into two groups with each group attending in-person classes two days per week.

If the report on Monday continued to show a medium spread of COVID-19 cases, Kagan and the rest of Horry County students would follow a hybrid schedule going to school two days a week and distance learning online the other three days.

Low spread, which no South Carolina county met requirements for based on the Aug. 24 report, will be five days a week of face-to-face instruction.

Medium spread, in which 17 counties currently account for, is hybrid learning with three days of distance learning and two days of face-to-face learning. Students would be placed into one of two groups: Group A or Group B. By dividing students into two groups, fewer students would be attending school on a given day, and social distancing can be maintained in the classroom and throughout the school.

High spread, which accounted for 29 counties in the state as of Aug. 24, recommends full-time distance learning. Teachers would provide instruction and assignments through the e-learning system.

A traditional classroom environment, recess, and physically seeing friends is what some students say they’re most looking forward to, hopefully. Since March, students will have to adjust to new classroom settings, such as mask policies, social distancing, and likely eating lunch in the classroom.

If it means getting to start her 6th-grade year walking into Aynor Middle School, Kagan will be ready to embrace new classroom changes.

“I want to respect other people’s boundaries because some people feel strongly about social distancing, so I want to make sure I keep social distancing in my mind,” Kagan said.

HCS will make a decision to transition from one type of school operation to another based upon the prior week’s SCDHEC Disease Activity Guidance Report. Parents should monitor the HCS website and HCS social media for updates regarding any transition decisions.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending stories