Jul. 8—The South Carolina Department of Education no longer requires face masks to be worn on school buses.
The department said school districts are prohibited from requiring students and employees to wear face masks while at any educational facilities for the upcoming 2021-22 school year following Proviso 1.108 (SDE: Mask Mandate Prohibition), according to a memo from State Superintendent Molly Spearman.
The S.C. General Assembly adopted the Appropriations Bill that states, "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. This prohibition extends to the announcement or enforcement of any such policy."
Aiken County Public Schools Superintendent King Laurence said the local district will follow the guidance but still encourages staff and students to wear masks while on buses.
"We still believe the wearing of face coverings on our District's school buses to be in the best interests of public health so we will continue to recommend that our students and staff wear them on our school buses," Laurence said in a statement.
The department previously enforced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's order from January that required the use of face coverings by people on public transportation, which included 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 Proviso 1.108 does not prevent districts from encouraging the wearing of face coverings in these settings," according to the memo from Spearman.