HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Parents who want to move their children to virtual learning in wake of Gov. Henry McMaster’s executive order eliminating mask mandates in schools will not be able to, according to information released Wednesday by Horry County Schools.

“At this point in the semester, we do not have enough time for the transition of either grades or instructors,” the statement reads. 

However, parents can opt for their students to work independently from home. Students’ work will be assigned and submitted through Google Classroom or SeeSaw. Requests to move students to independent learning must be submitted to principals by email or hard copy by Monday. 

Final exams for students working independently will be done by Google Classroom, but state-required testing must be done in a school setting with six feet of social distancing between children. Students whose families don’t feel it’s safe for them to enter a school for the tests won’t be penalized, according to the statement.

McMaster issued an executive order on Tuesday that created an opt-out process for masks in schools. Earlier Wednesday, the South Carolina Department of Education released a statement announcing that the state’s face-covering policy was being revoked, with the exception of school bus requirements set by the federal government. 

SC for Ed board member, Nicole Walker said it feels reckless to be rescinding the mask order now saying, “I don’t understand why we’re making this decision now instead of waiting until the fall when we will be closer probably to herd immunity.”

Walker said they had several teachers reach out to them with health concerns. She said teachers will have a lot of decisions to make going forward.

“We’ve heard from a number of teachers in the last few days that let us know they decided not to sign their contracts, that are either looking for work outside of education or are trying to move to North Carolina,” said Walker.

Horry County Schools’ face mask opt-out form will be accepted starting Thursday. The forms must be signed by a parent, guardian or the student, if they are at least 18 years old.

The district said it will continue to encourage the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s guidance on social distancing, hand sanitizing and wearing face coverings. 

“Failure to wear a face covering may subject a student or employee to an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading COVID-19 to others,” the statement reads.