Greenwood County School District 50’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to remove certain pandemic-related policies at its special called meeting Thursday.
“I move that the district no longer require students to wear face coverings while engaged in school activities pursuant to the discretion of the student’s parents or unless a face covering is otherwise required by state or federal law,” said Clay Sprouse, a District 50 board member.
Face coverings for students will be “parental optional,” but the district strongly recommends students wear masks inside all schools and facilities until the end of the school year. Parents of District 50 students do not need to fill out a state Department of Health and Environmental Control opt-out form for their children, a statement from the district said.
“In light of the announcement of State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman rescinding the face covering mandate in schools, our district will no longer require face coverings in our schools and facilities effective immediately,” District 50 Superintendent Steve Glenn said in the statement. “Parents have the option to decide if their child should come to school each day with a face covering. Parents can also decide if their child should wear their face covering in the classroom.”
The school board made the decision after spending nearly two hours behind closed doors receiving legal advice regarding the district’s pandemic policy.
School board members also voted unanimously to allow district employees to opt-out of wearing a face covering by filling out a form. There was no mention of any conditions — such as being vaccinated — that employees must complete before being allowed to opt-out.
The novel coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close and transition to distance learning 14 months ago. District 50 is joining the growing number of governmental entities in easing restrictions that have been in place since the pandemic began.
The face-covering parental option policy will continue for summer school, which starts June 7.