CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County Schools will begin installing plexiglass barriers around every desk Friday, in hopes of having students return to in-person classes five days a week in January.

“Everybody wants to be back in school and we understand that,” school board chair Ken Richardson said. “We want to do it in the safest way.”

The project costs $5.2 million with that money coming from the state and the CARES Act.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientists out there to figure out we’re not spending $5 million to leave the children sitting at home,” Richardson said.

Work will start in elementary schools and happen after classes or on weekends. According to DHEC guidelines for plexiglass in classrooms, students can be three feet apart, but they still have to wear masks.

“We want to have as much advanced planning as possible as we move into second semester to give our parents some choices,” superintendent Dr. Rick Maxey said.

Dr. Maxey said parents can also choose to move their kids into physical classes or the virtual academy for next semester. That choice can be made in mid-December.

Read the full PowerPoint presentation below:

Maxey also said there’s one crucial thing families need to do in order to learn about their options.

“Parents need to make sure that they have active email addresses on file with the school through PowerSchool,” Maxey said.

The plexiglass is expected to be on all elementary school desks by Dec. 23; however, there’s no timeline yet for when that will happen in middle and high schools.