Starting Monday, students in schools in the Lexington-Richland 5 school district won’t be required to wear face masks in school.
The school board voted 4-2 to do away with the policy, following mounting pressure to drop the requirement that students wear masks as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.
The policy change will go into effect May 10.
In recent weeks, parents had stepped up calls for students to have the choice of wearing masks while in school. Last week, Gov. Henry McMaster said continuing face mask requirements are the “height of ridiculosity” as more teachers and others have had the opportunity to get vaccinated.
The S.C. Department of Education has said it does not plan to change its requirement that students wear masks while attending in-person classes this school year.
Currently, the Education Department requires students and staff in public schools to wear a mask when entering a school building, moving through hallways, during pickup and drop off, while boarding, riding and exiting buses, and when social distancing is not possible.
Students may only remove their face coverings when directed to by a teacher or administrator while in the classroom or during special activities outside the classroom, according to the policy posted on its website.
Schools are now required to offer in-person classes five days a week after the S.C. Legislature passed a school reopening act last month.
As of Tuesday, the district’s COVID-19 dashboard reported one student is out with a positive coronavirus diagnosis. No staffers have a positive diagnosis.
Four staffers and 54 students are in a precautionary quarantine.
No COVID-19 vaccine is currently approved for children under the age of 16.
This is a breaking story. Please come back for updates.