‘I feel like we’re doing the safest thing’: Horry County Schools board chair discusses hybrid learning

Making The Grade

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – After a lot of doubt throughout the summer, many Horry County students will be able to attend some classes in-person next week.

Horry County Schools (HCS) board chair Ken Richardson says he hoped the district could return to in-person classes five days a week, but some HCS students will still be back in the classroom next week.

“The numbers are headed in the right direction, but we didn’t quite get there where we need to be,” said Richardson.

According to disease activity data from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), Horry County is at a “medium” level of COVID-19 spread. That means HCS is recommended to have a hybrid model of classes, according to guidelines from the state’s AccelerateED task force. Horry County is the only county on the Grand Strand or in the Pee Dee where the disease activity is at a “medium” level.

The county was at a “high” level of spread until two weeks ago.

“I’ll put it this way,” Richardson said. “If we would have started school on Aug. 17, like we were supposed to, we would have been distance learning. There would have been nobody face-to-face.”

The first day of in-person classes for students in groups A or G will be next Tuesday, while kids in group B will start in-person next Wednesday.

“If some children might be in group A, we’re trying to get everybody in that house in group A or group B or whatever it might be, so they’re all home on the same day,” said Richardson. “Hopefully, this is going to be a short-term thing.”

HCS will continue monitoring DHEC’s weekly reports to see if full, in-person classes can safely happen, or if the spread gets worse again and all classes have to be held virtually.

“As far as the parents are concerned, they’re either going to take them to school for two days or five days, or the bus is going to pick them up for two days or for five days,” Richardson said. “I don’t think it’s going to be that much of a transition. I feel like we’re doing the safest thing. I feel good for the employees and I feel good for the students.”

Schedules for HCS students should be available by Wednesday afternoon.

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