school bus

During any given school day, Horry County Schools operates 373 buses in the district.

“Our transportation department has done a phenomenal job as far as shortages,” said HCS Chief of Support Services Daryl Brown.

Right now, there are 82 routes being combined in order to “make do,” he said.

“As we get back to some sense of normalcy … we will work on getting the drivers in that we need to cover these routes,” Brown said, adding that there are three more job fairs to recruit bus drivers in the next few months in hopes of attracting more individuals to drive the district buses. The job fairs are scheduled for Sept. 21, Oct. 19 and Nov. 16.

District officials are looking at possible ways to compensate some bus drivers who are working longer hours combining routes plus their regular job responsibilities.

Board member Sherrie Todd wanted to be sure those workers are fairly compensated in some way.

“If our transportation services breaks apart, we’re in bad trouble guys,” Todd said.

Brown lauded the transportation, cafeteria and custodial workers for the job they have continued to do during this difficult time.

“I feel we should commend [that staff], they’ve gone well far and above the call of duty,” said District 11 member Shanda Allen, adding security to the list of departments who have also worked long hours.

Board chairman Ken Richardson said that he also felt the nurses were getting overlooked in terms of a job well done.

“It’s unbelievable what they are doing. I’m just amazed at what we’re asking our nurses to do now,” Richardson said. “I just wanted to give a shoutout to nurses. I give it to everybody, but it seems like we never mention them. Those guys are not quitters, they’re winners.”

Chief of Student Services Velna Allen went over the new quarantine procedures that were announced last Friday.

“It is vitally important for healthy students to be in school in a face-to-face setting,” Superintendent Rick Maxey said.

Maxey noted that the usual time period when new symptoms could arise is seven to 10 days, so with the passing of Labor Day last Monday, he said he would not be surprised if there was a brief uptick in cases due to the holiday weekend events.

As of 4 p.m. on Monday, the HCS COVID-19 dashboard showed 322 current COVID-19 cases in the district among the approximately 43,000 students, as well as 42 staff cases and 3,900 students in quarantine.

Updated quarantine guidelines can be viewed here.

HCS COVID-19 dashboard data can be seen here.

In other board news

• The board voted unanimously to hire Pike, McFarland and Hall Associates as the architecture firm to design the new Whittemore Park Middle School building on El Bethel Road in Conway. They agreed on a set design fee of a flat $2.8 million that won’t increase if construction prices increase.

• The district will be hiring eight new floating food service workers to help cover absences and quarantines due to COVID-19, Brown said.

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