COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Wednesday made available a facemask opt-out form that schools must use in response to Governor Henry McMaster’s executive order.
That order “empowers South Carolina parents to decide whether their children should wear masks in public schools throughout the state.”
Gov. McMaster said that since all adults are eligible to be vaccinated, “it goes against all logic to continue to force our children — especially our youngest children — to wear masks against their parent’s wishes.”
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the South Carolina Department of Education were directed “to develop and distribute a standardized form a parent or legal guardian may sign to opt their child out of mask requirements imposed by any public school official or public school district.”
To be valid, DHEC says the form must be completed without change by the parent or guardian (or student, if age 18 or older).
“DHEC’s recommendations regarding COVID-19 precautions, including wearing face masks, have not changed,” the agency said. “Wearing face masks and taking other precautions are important disease prevention methods that protect not only the person wearing the mask but also those around them.”
DHEC said it will follow CDC guidance, which is backed by multiple research studies, that masks are an effective and essential tool for protecting the health of all South Carolinians during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
They recommend all students, staff, and others in schools continue to wear masks through the end of the current school year.