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Columbus, Horry schools set remote learning as Hurricane Idalia approaches


     States of Emergency have been declared in the Carolinas as leaders in the greater Tabor-Loris Community, Columbus and Horry counties, keep a close eye on Hurricane Idalia and its potential local impacts.

     Impacts to public education were already taking shape Tuesday afternoon, as both the Columbus County and Horry County Schools announced closing its facilities on Thursday.

     Students in both systems will transition to remote learning for the day, an “eLearning day,” an HCS news release said.

     “School staff members will provide directions for students regarding Thursday’s eLearning day,” the HCS news release said.

     Columbus County Schools’ students will use Google Classrooms for their instruction for the day, district spokesman Kelly Jones said. Teachers will provide additional information during regular classes Wednesday, Jones said.

     Extracurricular competitions (athletic and other extracurricular) scheduled Wednesday are also canceled for the Horry County Schools, although practice events on campus “may continue on Wednesday after school if weather conditions permit.”

     Similarly, the Columbus County Schools has cancelled most after-school activities for Wednesday and Thursday, but may allow on-campus practice before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday if conditions allow, Jones said.

     eLearning means students will not have to make up the day. Students unable to take part “due to power outages, lack of internet service, or other barriers will have the opportunity to complete assignments at a later date,” the HCS news release said.


     Columbus County leaders were meeting by conference call Tuesday afternoon to plan potential responses with the storm’s uncertain path after it comes ashore on Florida’s gulf coast, Assistant Emergency Management Director David Ransom said.

     Horry County Council Tuesday afternoon declared a “localized state of emergency to adopt emergency ordinances to meet public emergencies affecting life, health, safety or the property of the people in our area,” a county news release said.

     Unless terminated sooner, the resolution remains in effect for 60 days.

    A state of emergency has also been declared for Columbus County, a late Tuesday afternoon news release said.

     Horry County Emergency Management moved its status Tuesday morning to OPCON 2 (Level 2 operation condition), a separate county news release said.

     That means “the county is operating in a heightened state of awareness with emergency plans beginning to be implemented,” the news release said. “County officials have begun discussions with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, coastal communities including local municipalities, and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

     Emergency operations centers in Columbus and Horry have not been activated, officials said. A decision on when, or if to activate those will be made as conditions warrant.

     Public notices are promised as events warrant.

     Utility and transportation leaders from Florida through the mid-Atlantic states were preparing for storm impacts.

     Broadband providers said they, too, are preparing for outages.

     Look for more on this story in Wednesday’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online, and here as events warrant.