Some HCS parents support move to full-time in-person learning, others concerned

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Conway, South Carolina (WMBF)-Horry County parents are sharing their thoughts as their children prepare to return to full-time face-to-face learning.

Horry County School announced that elementary school students who adopt the blended learning model will have a five-day face-to-face study on February 8.

Some parents said they support the district's decision.

"I think this is a step in the right direction," Briana Walsh said. "I feel that children's mental health has been neglected during the pandemic."

Stephanie McKeown's first-year daughter is one of the students returning to the classroom full-time.

"I'm glad they can come back five days a week," McKean said.

McKeown said her daughter actually started studying in March last year. She thought the virtual program was the best decision at the time, because she had a newborn son who had a heart attack.

However, as time passed, she realized that her daughter's distance learning was not good, and registered for the physical course for the upcoming semester.

"Yes, I'm still a little nervous about this, but it's very important to get these kids educated," McKean said.

In order to do this safely, HCS invested $5 million to reopen the school, which included adding plexiglass barriers around student desks.

Walsh said: "My son doesn't care about plexiglass. He doesn't think they are claustrophobic. He is very excited about these five days."

However, not every parent agrees with the use of plexiglass in the school district.

Justin Yarbrough said: "It's like a cage, it keeps reminding me."

After seeing a video of a desk set up with plexiglass in the HCS classroom, Yarbrough decided to remove his son from his personal study.

Yarbrough said: "My son saw it in the news and he started crying. He said please don't let me fall into one of them."

Since then, my father has started a petition asking the school district to find a less restrictive way to keep students and teachers safe when facing each other.

So far, it has received more than 900 signatures.

Yarbrough said: "I am very satisfied with some of their preventive measures, but at River Oaks and I think those measures at Loris are cages." "There is no other way to see it...a cage with a metal bracket."

A spokesperson for the State Board of Education said that the school does not need plexiglass, but recommends it as part of the school district’s efforts to reduce the possibility of the spread of the virus.

Nia Watson joined the WMBF news team in October 2017. Nia is a proud southern peach from Stone Mountain, Georgia. She graduated with honors from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in digital and broadcast journalism.

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