Following the recent CDC recommendations over mask guidance in some states, DHEC issues new mask guidance for the upcoming school year in South Carolina.
“This guidance reflects the latest COVID-19 trends. It is subject to change as new data and information and trends emerge,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, the Director of Public Health at DHEC.
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said they put in place the new mask guidance to protect the public, but mostly the children, students and those responsible to educate them including teachers and staff.
“Our recommendation is that they continue to follow CDC federal orders that require masks to be worn on the bus,” said Dr. Traxler.
DHEC added that the guidance is not mandatory and every school district might decide if they will follow the guidance at all.
State agencies continue to follow governor’s policy over mandatory guidelines who multiple times said that making something mandatory usually has the opposite effect.
“They have to put into place the guidance and guidelines that are best for their specific location. But we do strongly recommend some of the core guidance that we know is based on science and facts,” said Dr. Traxler.
Following the latest guidelines, Charleston School District spokesperson said they are evaluating them and will decide soon.
“[CCSD is] continuing discussions with DHEC and MUSC, seeking a responsible position that complies with recent state proviso prohibiting school districts and schools from mandating masks for students and employees. The district will share all safety protocols with parents as part of our back-to-school information before the start of the school year.”
The same applies for Dorchester School District and the Berkeley County School District.
“We are looking forward to more guidance from the state department of education,” a Dorchester County spokesperson said.
According to Dr. Traxler, parents should be also involved in the process and they should decide for their children no matter if the guidance will be followed by the school districts. He said that we are all responsible for the educating process to continue as safe as possible for everyone involved.
“So we can have all of our children in the state educated and we can have all of our educators be able to do it safely this year,” said Dr. Traxler.