By DEUCE NIVEN
Distance learning is growing quickly in the Horry Schools, barely two weeks after students returned to classrooms, with Loris Middle the third of the county’s schools to go virtual effective Thursday.
Loris Middle currently has 16 active student COVID-19 cases, with 260 students in quarantine, data from the school district dashboard showed Wednesday. The school also has 14 staff members in quarantine, and a pair of active staff cases.
Parents and others were notified of the decision Wednesday morning, district spokesperson Lisa Bourcier said.
“Our review of the District’s most current COVID-19 data indicates that Loris Middle School’s ability to serve students has been negatively impacted both by the number of positive COVID-19 cases, as well as the number of staff and student quarantines,” the message sent to parents said.
Distance learning will be in place until at least Sept. 16, the notice said, parents given that date for when “regular face-to-face instruction of students will resume. While distance learning is underway, the school building will undergo a deep cleaning.”
All afterschool activities, including sports, practices, and club meetings, are cancelled during the distance learning period.
All schools will be closed Monday for Labor Day.
Parents who wish to request meals for this Friday, and for Tuesday through Friday, Sept. 7 through 10, must call the Loris Middle cafeteria tomorrow (Thursday, Sept. 2, before 10 a.m.
COVID-19, fueled by the more highly transmissible delta variant, has been spreading rapidly through the community in recent weeks, with Loris sharing a high number of cases and likely deaths.
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control data showed 25 new COVID cases for the Loris Zip Code between Tuesday and Wednesday, 4 for Green Sea, with the county recording 254 new cases in the single day.
That data reflected one of the most deadly periods in the entire pandemic for the coronavirus, with 12 newly confirmed deaths between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Horry also passed another grim milestone Wednesday, the DHEC data showed, passing 38,000 total cases since the pandemic’s impacts began to be felt widely in March 2020, that total now 38,010, with 527 Horry lives lost to the virus.
Two other Horry County schools are currently using distance learning, one in Columbus.
Conway High School began distance learning today (Sept. 1,) Aynor Middle School transitioned to distance learning Monday (Aug. 30), on the same day virtual learning began at South Columbus High School in Columbus County.
Look for more on this story here as events warrant, and in the next Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.