COVID impacts schools, infects Horry Supt. as area cases, deaths climb

By DEUCE NIVEN

tribdeuce@tabor-loris.com

     As the predicted post holiday COVID-19 surge is felt nationally, its impact on education is reflected in the public schools of Horry and Columbus counties, albiet differently.

     This post will cover these topics and may be updated:

  • Back to class in CC Tuesday, not so fast in Horry
  • Supt. Maxey tests COVID positive
  • More coronavirus deaths in Horry
  • Columbus records 142 new cases since Friday

 Back to class in CC Tuesday, not so fast in Horry

     It’s back to class for some students in the Columbus County Schools next week, while a decision on ending all-virtual learning has not been made in Horry County.

     In-person instruction will resume in the Columbus County Schools on Tuesday, following a previously scheduled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.

     “The schedule will be the same as in December – PreK-5 will go daily, 6-12 will be staggared,” the district posted on social media Monday. “Please reacou out to your school’s principal if you have any questions about next week.”

     A decision on when the Horry County Schools will re-open physical classrooms to students could come Wednesday, Board of Education members were told Monday.

     Classes have been all-remote since the first of the new year, in anticipation of a post-holiday surge of COVID-19 infections, district leaders announced last month.

     A decision on when to re-open was expected when the school board met Monday. Instead the district’s chief officer of student services, Velna Allen, said the announcement would come by Wednesday.

     Allen spoke in the absence of Supt. Rick Macey.

     Classes during the first semester were hybrid, with students in the classroom twice per week. That is expected to continue when students are again allowed into the classrooms.

 Supt. Maxey tests COVID positive

     Horry County Schools Supt. Dr. Rick Maxey has tested positive for COVID-19, he said in a statement released by the district Tuesday.

    “Yesterday afternoon I received a positive COVID-19 test result,” Maxey said. “So far, my symptoms have been mild, and I am hopeful that they will continue to be that way.

     “I will remain in isolation for the time designated by health care providers and am looking forward to returning to work. Thanks in advance for your support and prayers.”

     Maxey was not present for Monday’s Board of Education. Also absent was vice-chairman John Poston, who has been hospitalized with the coronavirus since last week, when he was reportedly on a ventilator and listed in critical condition.

     There are currently 95 active COVID-19 cases across the school system, including 50 staff members and 45 students, the district’s online dashboard said Tuesday. That includes seven staff cases at the district office, one active staff and one active student case at Green Sea Floyds Middle & High, three staff cases at Loris Elementary, one staff and one student case at Loris High, and one student case at Loris Middle.

 More coronavirus deaths in Horry

     COVID-19 associated deaths among Horry County residents have continued to average one each day since Friday, with 668 newly confirmed coronavirus cases during the same period, Tuesday’s data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control shows.

     Three of the four COVID deaths were elderly, the other middle aged, the DHEC data shows, with those deaths taking place on Dec. 30, 2020, two on Jan. 7, one each on Jan. 6 and 9. A total of 286 Horry residences have died of COVID-19 associated illness since the pandemic began, the DHEC data shows.

     Of the 668 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Horry since Friday, 47 were reported from the Loris Zip Code, 8 from Green Sea. That brings those pandemic totals to 20,402 across Horry, 1,266 for Loris, 168 in Green Sea.

     South Carolina has recorded 328,588 COVID cases during the pandemic, 5,358 deaths.

     Statewide 2,453 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Tuesday, that number up by 66 since Monday.

Columbus records 142 new cases since Friday

     Newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Columbus County have climbed by 142 since Friday, with a respite for confirmed deaths, none formally documented by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services as of Tuesday.

     Newly confirmed cases reported since Friday include 48 in the Whiteville Zip Code, 23 in Chadbourn, 21 in Tabor City, 12 in Hallsboro, 11 in Nakina, with other areas of the county all recording single-digit increases.

     Pandemic case/death totals to date include: Tabor City, 1,186/23; Whiteville, 1,287/30; Chadbourn, 487/10; Clarendon, 163/3; Nakina, 12/2; Cerro Gordo, 119/2; and Fair Bluff, 94/5.

     North Carolina reported 6,851 new COVID infections Tuesday and 60 associated deaths, bringing those pandemic totals to 635,975 and 7,638 respectively.

     Statewide 3,940 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus Tuesday, that number up by 97 from Monday.

Updates

     Look for continuing coverage on local impacts from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak here and in the Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.