In a memo received from the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) on Thursday, August 26, 2021, Laurens County School Districts learned of a mandate that took effect on Monday, August 30, 2021. The information issued by State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman notified school districts that the SCDE will again enforce the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Order requiring the use of face masks by students and staff on state-owned and operated school buses.
“Superintendent Spearman’s notification to school districts indicated that the increasing levels of COVID-19 and the highly transmissible Delta variant were the determining factors in the directive,” said Dr. Ameca Thomas, Superintendent of LCSD 55.
To facilitate adherence to the CDC Order, the SCDE will equip all state-owned buses with an adequate supply of face masks that meet the requirements of the Order. Any student who boards a school bus without a face mask will be offered one by the bus driver, however, no student will be denied transportation.
The LCSD 55 revised Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan and the SCDE memo can be found on the school district’s website at www.laurens55.org.
The mask mandate cannot be enforced on school property because of the proviso established during the budget process this year that was part of the final budget approved and adopted.
A group of legislators oppose this recent mandate by Spearman and sent a letter to the Secretary of Education. A copy of the letter is shown below.
One of the authors of the letter had this to say, “throughout the pandemic public heath officials from Washington have overstepped the will of the People and the consent of the Governed,” said Representative Stewart Jones. “We insist that the South Carolina Department of Education follows State law and the Constitution above any guidance from the CDC or Dr. Fauci.”
This is an evolving story, and we will keep you posted.