Some Horry County Schools teachers want plexiglass removed, district says not yet

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Some teachers in Horry County Schools said the plexiglass is doing more harm than good and would like to see it removed but the district said they’re waiting on DHEC’s recommendation and approval.

“The plexiglass is falling apart, it’s dirty because it doesn’t get cleaned, it’s breaking,” Cori Canada, Horry County representative for SC for Ed said.

Canada is a virtual school teacher in Horry County but said teachers have told her the plexiglass barriers are hindering instruction.

“The classrooms are already overcrowded and the plexiglass that goes to the floor and around the desks are making the classrooms more crowded,” Canada said. “If it’s doing more harm than good, what’s the purpose of having it?”

Last month, the CDC updated it’s recommendations for operational strategies for K-12 schools and recommended the removal of physical barriers.

SCDHEC said in response:

“We are aware of the CDC’s updated recommendations for its Operational Strategy for K-12 schools and have been in communication with the South Carolina Department of Education. DHEC continues to advise that plexiglass is one option for a physical barrier that can be used to prevent the spread of the respiratory droplets that carry the virus from an infected person. However, all current disease prevention precautions should still be implemented, including current physical distancing recommendations to the extent possible, proper wearing of masks, frequent hand-washing and staying home when feeling ill. No single preventive measure is completely effective on its own, but together they are more effective in reducing disease transmission. Plexiglass serves as one disease prevention measure schools can choose to implement to help protect their students, teachers and faculty during classroom instruction.”

SCDHEC

Superintendent for Horry County Schools, Dr. Rick Maxey said he’s waiting on approval from DHEC to remove the plexiglass.

“I can assure you that there is no one in the independent republic who would be as happy as one Rick Maxey to see students, all of them in school, no plexiglass and no masks and just as soon as SCDHEC says we can do that, guess what? We’ll start immediately heading in that direction,” Maxey said.

Parents have until April 30 to decide whether or not they want their child to be virtual next school year and some teachers and parents said plexiglass is a deciding factor.

“I think the district needs to be clear with parents what school will look like next year,” Canada said. “Will there be plexiglass and masks? If the district doesn’t know, why not wait until they do? They’re not giving parents a fair assessment of the situation.”

“How can you make the right decision for your family if you don’t have all the information?” Canada said.

Dr. Maxey said he wishes he had those answers saying, “one of the questions I received from parents and I’m sure board members do too is that, ‘I really would like to wait until August when I know what the situation looks like’…well I wish we could too.”

The district said it’s due to staffing and being able to have schedules in place. They plan to have schedules done by June 30.

“You have to realize, we’re looking at scheduling 2,700 teachers approximately. We’re looking at scheduling 44,000 students approximately and that is a massive undertaking,” Maxey said.

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