Horry County elementary students return to classrooms for 5-day in-person learning

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County elementary school students returned to five-day in-person learning Monday.

Plexiglass barriers installed in all elementary schools allowed schools to begin five days of full instruction. Horry County Schools (HCS) received $5 million from the CARES Act to fund the installation.

Parents called today’s change a step towards getting back to normal.

“He woke up this morning and he knew it was five days a week and he’s like ‘Yay! I’m so excited’,” said Bridgette Hilbert.

Hilbert’s 7-year-old son, Michael, attends Carolina Forest Elementary. She was relieved to find out HCS was returning to in-person learning five days a week.

She said Michael fell behind in his school work after transitioning to hybrid learning.

“Last year in kindergarten my son was off the charts — above average on everything,” Hilbert said. “To this year where he’s been way below average.”

Hilbert said getting back to the classrooms like usual will not only help her son academically but, will also cut down on extra expenses.

“Don’t have to worry about day care costs. That will go down significantly for me. As a single mom that’s a home run,” Hilbert explained.

Although a positive, she said Michael doesn’t like the plexiglass and she still has other concerns.

“I am nervous in the event there is an emergency kids need to get out — teachers need to get out,” Hilbert said.

The barriers were installed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in schools.

“We don’t call it plexiglass. We call it ‘offices’ and the kids decorate their offices,” said principal Krista Finklea.

Finklea is the principal at Socastee Elementary School. She told News13 decorating the plexiglass will help students get more comfortable with the new learning environment.

“We’ve tried to do our best to make sure that it’s not a negative experience for them but, it’s a positive experience for them,” Finklea explained.

She added that teachers are using PowerPoints for students to access on their tablets instead of using the board. About 700 students returned to Socastee Elementary while following guidelines implemented for hybrid days.

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