Laurens Co. and Greenwood respond to school mask mandate


LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA)- Laurens County School District 56 says they are preparing as quick as possible to Governor McMaster’s new executive order, that allows parents to decide if their child can opt out from wearing a mask at school.

“The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind, the last 24 hours has been interesting,” Superintendent of District 56, David O’Shileds said.

Laurens County District 56’s original plan was to require face masks until the end of the school year.

“We didn’t necessarily anticipate it, but it was what was,” O’Shields said.

Says they’re doing their best to handle the news with efficiency, “The printers are running right now. We’re copying off the mask opt out form.”

He says every student will have an opt out form in their hand by the end of the day Wednesday.

“We’re sending home the forms today, should parents have that desire to have a child return to school come tomorrow without a mask, they can do so provided they have a waiver,” O’Shields said.

O’Shields says his concern is now what everyone else in the school is going to do.

“With our faculty and staff, that’s a wait and see right now. I’ve called DHEC, I’ve actually got a call with the governor’s office to say, ‘Ok, you’ve told me what to do with students, so what do I do with faculty and staff?’ Because that’s going to be the next question,” O’Shields said.

Just down the road from Laurens County 7 news talked to representatives from Greenwood school districts. They plan to meet on Thursday to discuss their next steps.

It is important to note, students 18 and up do not have to get their parent to sign the form, they can sign it themselves and return it back to their schools.

Here is the opt out form for all schools across South Carolina.

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