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S.C. Dept. of Education gets rid of mask policy in schools

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 11:39 AM CDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The South Carolina Department of Education is getting rid of the state’s face mask policy in schools with the exception of the requirement on school buses, officials said.

“I have rescinded our order to try to establish some kind of order, so school districts can perform with peace and quiet for the last few weeks of school,” said State Superintendent Molly Spearman.

State education officials are recommending that school leaders confer with their legal counsel about liability protections when it comes to mask policies.

According to an SCDE spokesperson, the department is rescinding the policy now because it doesn’t want to wage a debate and pit elected officials, students and families against one another in the last weeks of school.

“Superintendent Spearman and the SCDE continue to urge schools and districts to follow DHEC’s public health guidance as they have throughout the pandemic,” a note to all superintendents stated.

The announcement comes after Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order giving parents the power to decide if their child will wear a mask in the classroom.

In order for it to be valid, the form must be completed without change by the parent or guardian unless the student is 18 or older.

McMaster directed the state Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Department of Education to work together to create the form, which was unveiled Wednesday afternoon.

Spearman said she has concerns about liabilities this might create for districts.

Gov. McMaster told WMBF News he wants parents to choose, and the government should no longer mandate it.

“The parents are the ones who know that impact of being required to wear the mask, has on their child and they are the ones who should make that decision not the government,” McMaster said.

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