Face masks no longer required on South Carolina school buses

Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 11:22 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Education says face masks are no longer required on state school buses.

SCDE says they have provided guidance related to Proviso 1.108 also known as the Mask Mandate Prohibition.

The Mask Mandate Prohibition was passed by the General Assembly in the 2021-22 Appropriations Bill and says, “No school district, or any of its schools, may use any funds appropriated or authorized pursuant to this act to require that its students and/or employees wear a facemask at any of its education facilities.”

The SCDE says they interpret that to mean that school districts are prohibited from requiring students and employees to wear a facemask while in any of its educational facilities for the 2021-22 school year.

Effective immediately, the SCDE says they will exercise its enforcement discretion granted within the order and will no longer enforce the face covering requirement on state owned school buses.

The SCDE says they previously enforced the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Jan. 29 order that requires the use of face coverings by people on public transportation conveyances and hubs, which includes school buses.

The use of face coverings by students and staff on school buses and within school facilities remains a recommendation of state and federal public health officials, and the SCDE says Mask Mandate Prohibition does not prevent districts from encouraging the wearing of face coverings in these settings.

That said, districts may not create or enforce any policy, which would require the wearing of face coverings. Should a district decide to act contrary to this law, state funding may be withheld, the SCDE says.

Educational facilities include all property owned and operated by the individual district, the SCDE says.

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