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School districts can enforce mask mandates on school buses, Dept. of Education says

While South Carolina leaders have said the state will not enforce a federal face mask...
While South Carolina leaders have said the state will not enforce a federal face mask requirement on school buses, individual school districts are allowed to do so, according to a memo sent to district superintendents.
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 10:04 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - While South Carolina leaders have said the state will not enforce a federal face mask requirement on school buses, individual school districts are allowed to do so.

That information is according to the South Carolina Department of Education memorandum sent to school superintendents last week to clear up questions about a budget priviso designed to block school districts from imposing mandates inside school buildings.

“Priviso 1.108 only covers educational facilities and does not extend to school buses,” the letter, written by Department of Education Governmental Affairs Director Katie Nilges states.

The letter also addressed other questions about face masks:

Is a district allowed to require visitors to wear a face mask?

Yes. Proviso 1.108 only speaks to the prohibition of a face mask mandate for students and staff. Because the proviso is silent to visitors, districts may choose to enforce such a policy.

Is a district allowed to require students and staff to wear a face mask in the nurse’s station and other healthcare areas of the school facility?

Face coverings may be required by students, staff, and visitors in healthcare areas of school facilities. Locations designated for healthcare, testing, or for awaiting pickup due to illness are considered healthcare facilities. Examples include health rooms and athletic trainer offices. As such, infection control policies and practices are held to healthcare facility standards and expectations and may differ from policies of non-healthcare school facilities. Individuals being assessed, tested, or dismissed from attendance due to respiratory symptoms should be required to wear a face covering while in these designated healthcare areas and also when transiting to/from these areas.

Is a district allowed to encourage face masks in its educational facilities?

Yes. While districts are prohibited from requiring students and staff from wearing a face mask, Proviso 1.108 does not prevent a district from encouraging the wearing of a face mask.

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