Spartanburg Co. school districts offer opt-out form for masks in school

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SPARTANBURG CO., S.C. (WSPA) – We’re hearing from some Spartanburg County school districts and what they think about the governor’s executive order.

“Our kids have proven to be very resilient throughout this entire process,” Spartanburg School District One Spokesperson Sandra Williams said. “I think they’ve handled mask-wearing, plexiglass, and all those procedures that we’ve put in place, they’ve handled it beautifully.”

However, the school district said they never expected an executive order from the governor, this late in the school year, going against the mask mandate that was put in place by South Carolina’s Department of Education.

“We only have about two and a half weeks left, so it was just our assumption that the state department would just see this through to the remainder of the school year,” Williams said.

District One said they’ll follow the governor’s order and even created their own opt-out form for parents before DHEC released theirs.

“We knew that our parents were very anxious to know, one way or another, what we would be doing,” Williams said.

The district said their school employees will also have the option to not wear a mask if they don’t want to.

Spartanburg District Four is on the same page, releasing a statement that said–effective immediately–masks will be optional for students, faculty and staff.

However, they said “Students/parents will not be required to submit any form or complete any documentation indicating their preference regarding the wearing of masks.”

They said it would be impractical to monitor who has turned in a form and who hasn’t.

Right now, District Four said they are focusing on state testing and trying to maintain as much normalcy to students as possible.

District One said they don’t believe the change will impact their students who are currently going through that testing.

“I don’t anticipate that this is going to cause much of a disruption to our normal school day,” Williams said.

 Spartanburg District Five is providing opt-out forms to parents, but said, “District Five still strongly believes the medical guidance from DHEC that states that, ‘masks are an effective and essential tool for protecting public health, and that the wearing of masks does slow the spread of COVID-19.‘”

District One said they’re hopeful that students can get through the last days of school without any more challenges.

“We’re really encouraged by the decline in our numbers, we’re encouraged by the vaccinations that are now available,” Williams said. “We’re really looking forward to next year being a normal school year.”

Spartanburg School Districts 2, 3, 6, and 7 are also offering opt-out forms.

Each Spartanburg County school district told 7 News, based on federal law, masks will still be required on buses for students and drivers.

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