On Monday, June 22, 2020, the South Carolina Department of Education’s AccelerateED Task Force released the final version of its Guidance and Recommendations for 2020–21 School Year (See the complete document at https://tinyurl.com/y7qmvh5k. The purpose of this state-level committee’s work is to provide guidance and recommendations to all South Carolina school districts as they move toward re-opening their schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In making preparations for the new school year, Horry County Schools (HCS) has established the HCS Re-Opening Task Force in order to formulate this detailed plan which utilizes the work of the AccelerateEd Task Force, while at the same time taking into consideration the individual needs of our school district. The HCS Re-Opening Task Force, made up of several sub-committees, identified and developed these plans to address pandemic concerns, as well as the challenges unique to Horry County such as its geographic size. In addition to district staff members and principals, our task force included teachers, parents, and students to address challenges facing us in the following areas: Public Health & Safety, School Operations & Logistics, Teaching & Learning, Equity & Family Needs, and Social-Emotional Health.
Each subcommittee worked with the South Carolina AccelerateED plan as the core of its subcommittee's discussions and reviewed other states’ and districts' plans to ensure all aspects of a return to school would be considered. In addition, a survey was sent to each parent and staff member to gain a better understanding of how our stakeholders think our instruction/campuses should look when we open schools again. We are confident that valuable input from our stakeholders – on many levels – provided us with the most comprehensive plan possible for HCS.
This fall, we know that school will look different from years past, but our goal is to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for all students and staff members with instruction delivered in the most effective way possible.
Guiding Principles for Re-Opening Schools
As our core values state, HCS will always
- Put service to students above all else.
- Take responsibility for the success of all students.
- Care passionately about our work with students.
- Build strong, positive relationships with students, staff, parents, and community.
- Model and promote civility and integrity.
HCS decisions about re-opening are all guided by the latest recommendations and guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), the Governor of South Carolina, and South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE). The status of COVID-19 fluctuates daily and continues to challenge the communities of Horry County. With this in mind, we must rely on a series of guiding principles to help us make decisions, evaluate those decisions, and adjust as necessary. Those principles, built on maintaining our core values and the mission of HCS, include considering the wellness, safety, and needs of students and staff.
Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, and our protocols and plans will be updated as appropriate, and as more information becomes available.