HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Parents and pediatricians reacted Tuesday after a report by Horry County Schools on Monday showed that 42% of students in the district’s virtual-learning program had failed one or more classes.
One of the district’s three options for the program is to do away with it for the 2022-23 school year, but some parents said they aren’t ready to see the online program go away completely. HCS could also continue the program as it is or make enrollment adjustments.
Denise Chambers’ daughter attends St. James High School and has special needs. Chambers said the virtual- learning program has been good for her.
“It was a success. I mean, she did very well, she gets good grades and she’s doing well,” Chambers said.
But for other students, that’s not the case. Data from the first semester shows nearly 700 virtual students were failing one or more classes.
“I’m not really surprised,” Chambers said. “It needs to be revamped, it needs to be more engaging, challenging, more grade-level specific.”
According to Janice Key, a pediatrician at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital some kids do better academically in person, for many reasons. She said she was not surprised by the high failure rate.
“It’s not surprising at all,” Key said. “The younger the kids are, they can’t pay attention that long to virtual learning. The older kids, they have such complicated classes that learning it virtually is a challenge.”
She also added that it’s important students learn social-development skills in an environment with other children. This is why she thinks in-person learning is crucial.
Parents like Chambers are holding on to the option of remote learning.
“I’d like to see them continue,” she said. “It’s very important for the kids, especially the special education kids with special needs. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”
The district’s staff and board members are expected to discuss and vote on the program’s status at a future board meeting.