Today’s first South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) report on COVID-19 cases in public and private schools in the state showed less than ten cases of the virus in schools in Horry County.
Socastee Middle School is listed as having "< 5" school employees with the virus, and Coastal Leadership Academy and Ocean Drive Elementary have the same amount of employees testing positive.
DHEC officials said that if there are fewer than five student cases or fewer than five staff cases associated with a school, the number of cases will be represented as less than five or >5.
"The specific number for less than five individuals isn't provided as a standard practice for protecting confidentiality, since reporting such a small number of cases could lead to individuals being identified," DHEC officials said.
No other cases are reported any any other Horry County public, private or charter schools listed. View all the data here.
Across South Carolina, 89 cases of COVID-19 are reported among the state's students, and 69 among school employees.
DHEC said that this report will be provided twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays, and will include for each school a cumulative and rolling 30-day count of confirmed cases among students, teachers, and faculty members.
The reporting does not mean that students, faculty or staff contracted the virus at school, DHEC said in a release this week.
“Unlike a nursing home, where residents live at the facility, students, teachers, and faculty come and go from school and are active in their community, and could come in contact with the virus outside of a school setting,” DHEC officials said.
College students will not be captured in this data, DHEC said, and will only include kindergarten through twelfth grade students, and only those who physically attend school on a regular basis will be included in the counts.
Sports coaches, tutors, part-time employees, kitchen staff, custodial and maintenance workers and other employees with a physical presence at the school will be included.
Students who participate in virtual instruction but are on campus regularly for extracurricular activities will be included as well.
DHEC said that some schools may choose to announce cases themselves before they are reflected in the reports, which may have a delay as the agency receives, reviews, and confirms information, before posting it online.
Some private schools in Horry County began August 17, and public schools in Horry County begin Tuesday. This week they are beginning in a hybrid, split-schedule format with students attending two days in-person, and for the other three days will use distance learning.
The way the students attend could change every other week, depending on DHEC data regarding the disease activity spread.
Students returned for five days late last month for LEAP Days, which stands for Learn, Evaluate, Analyze, and Prepare. Students in grades K-8 who needed some help catching up were invited to attend those days, which the S.C. Department of Education said districts must provide. Attendance was not mandatory, according to Horry County Schools officials.
Check My Horry News for updates as more information becomes available.