Students sound off on plexiglass

As Horry County Schools moves closer to five-day, face-to-face instruction for all grade levels, most district schools have completed plexiglass installations. . . Students have mixed opinions about it. . . I dont necessarily agree with the plexiglass. I believe theres no need for it, said Emma Sansbury, a junior at the Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology. However, I know that the district has the students best interest at heart and is just trying to get us back into school full time. . . HCS Chief of Support Services Daryl Brown said the plexiglass at North Myrtle Beach High School and Loris High School would be completed in a few days, and they plan to have all high schools and academies finished before the end of the month. At least one petition is circulating via HCS parent Justin Yarbrough asking the district to remove the plexiglass, saying its only a recommendation from the S. C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, not a requirement. . . These poor kids need normalcy not more self-imposed restrictions and especially not cages, Yarbrough said in his petition, which has over 1,600 signatures. . . The district is installing $5 million worth of plexiglass with the help of the S. C. Department of Education. District officials said with plexiglass and mask-wearing, students can safely be three feet apart instead of the usual six feet of social distancing. . . Many parents have discussed the plexiglass on social media on both sides of the issue. some saying they will do whatever it takes to get their children back in school as usual, and some saying they think the plexiglass needs to be removed. . . The reasons behind those that want it removed range from their children not being able to see and hear the teacher well to questioning how often the plexiglass is cleaned. . . HCS Superintendent Rick Maxey said during Mondays board work session that he did not know how long the plexiglass would be around. . . We will look to DHEC for guidance along those lines, Maxey said. For now, and for the foreseeable future, plexiglass is going to stay in place, and as suggested, the wearing of masks to continue taking steps to mitigate transmission of the virus. . . As for what will happen to the plexiglass when it can be removed, Maxey said the district began discussions with the facilities department to look at how the plexiglass could eventually be repurposed or recycled when that time comes. . . I dont know how long its going to be before we get to the point where it is removed, Maxey said. Were going to stick to the path were on at this point. . . In a Board of Education meeting earlier this month, Brown said the teachers were given cleaning solution, which mainly consisted of warm water and dish soap. Any other cleaners could cause the plexiglass to fog, he said. . . Im not sure if its going to be worth it the plexiglass, Aynor High School senior Clarise Jones said. They seem to be a hassle, but then again I understand they are trying to figure out what to do to keep us safe. . . Emily Rabon, a fellow AHS senior, said that while she might have to sometimes speak louder to be heard in class behind the plexiglass, she is looking at the big picture. . . Spending the last few days of my high school career together with my classmates, many of whom I have not seen in months, is worth it, Rabon said. . . Elementary students have been back full time for almost a month. . . I sit up front and still sometimes cannot understand what my teacher is saying, although students in the back have it way harder because they have plexiglass everywhere, said Kingston Elementary fifth grader Bella Sutherland. I have had a few of my friends say they could never hear the teacher or see him in any way. . . As a senior, Jones is doing her best to look at things in a positive way. . . It started off hard now but I have gotten into a routine of it and I make the most of it, Jones said. Im ready to finish out my senior year strong, however its going to look. . . Rabon concurred. . . There have been many times that I questioned why I was given these circumstances. What I later learned, however, is that perspective is key, Rabon said. If theres one thing that the pandemic has taught me it is to make the most out of the cards that I have been dealt. I wish our senior year was different, but we cannot change or control it. What we can control is how we react to these challenges. . . The district said Monday night that they are also discussing the installation of bipolar ionization technology in Horry County Schools buildings. . . Brown said the technology will send ions into the air system that will seek out and form bonds with particulars in the air and allows our air system to filter more effectively. . . The systems would help improve overall air quality, Brown said, noting it would also help with things such as germs, dust, pollen and mold. . . It will benefit the district even after this pandemic passes us, he said. Brown said the systems would be funded with CARES Act money.

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