Masks are optional for Richland One students, staff starting March 14

March 13, 2022

Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon has announced that masks will be optional for students and staff starting Monday, March 14.

The change follows the Richland One Board of School Commissioners’ approval of revisions to Policy ADD Face Covering, which previously required masks to be worn inside schools and administrative buildings and on school buses.

“In Richland One, we have been cautious and deliberative in addressing health and safety concerns related to the pandemic. We put COVID-19 mitigating strategies and safety protocols in place that have helped to keep our numbers down and our schools open,” said Dr. Witherspoon.

“As we look at our COVID-19 Dashboard now, we see few reported positive cases and quarantines across the district. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Community Level designation for Richland County has gone from high to medium to low. That is news we should all celebrate.”

There may be instances in which the district may require masks to be worn, including in health rooms and other designated health care areas. Masks will be required for days 6-10 of the isolation period for students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 and return to school/work after 5 days of isolation. Masks also will be required when there is a school outbreak as defined by the CDC. Visitors also will be required to wear masks.

Although masks will be optional, students and staff who want to continue to wear masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 may do so.

“Compassion is one of our core values in Richland One. Inherent to that core value is respect for all people. As such, we will not tolerate harassment or bullying of any students or staff for choosing to wear a mask or not wear a mask. Any such incidents should be reported,” Dr. Witherspoon said.

Richland One will maintain several other COVID-19 mitigating strategies and safety protocols. An updated summary of those protocols is posted on the district’s website at