Greenville County (SC) Schools declines to implement mask mandate

Southeast Region

Via Unsplash

GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) — Greenville County Schools will not be implementing a district-wide mask mandate after a federal ruling striking down South Carolina’s proviso, saying that it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to a release from GCS, virus spread has decreased 40% over the past month.

Greenville County students are responsible for only 5% of COVID-positive school cases in South Carolina this year, even though the district represents approximately 10% of the total student population of the state, according to DHEC.

“Given the dramatic downward trend in GCS, our statistics compared to the state, the recognition that mask mandates are enormously burdensome on principals, teachers, and staff, and the knowledge that monitoring such a mandate takes our employees away from their primary instructional and support duties, the Greenville County Schools’ administration does not intend to implement a district-wide mask mandate at this time,” said Superintendent Dr. W. Burke Royster.  “Instead, we will utilize mandatory masking only in extreme circumstances and on a school-by-school basis.”

Current COVID-19 mitigation strategies in Greenville County Schools, according to the district’s release, include the following:

  • maintain 3-feet of distance whenever possible
  • exclusion from school of students and staff who are COVID positive
  • exclusion from school of unvaccinated students and staff determined to be “close contacts” of a COVID-positive individual
  • rigorous contact tracing to minimize the number of students determined to be “close contacts” and therefore required under DHEC exclusion rules to quarantine
  • visual cues to remind students about handwashing
  • hand sanitizer stations
  • enhanced air exchange protocols
  • options for outdoor lunch
  • limited group gatherings
  • visual reminders to cover coughs and sneezes

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