Allendale County Schools will NOT require masks in schools and on school buses

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Students, wearing face masks and paying attention to social distancing, study at Les Magnolias primary school during the partial lifting of coronavirus, COVID-19, lockdown regulations in Brussels, Monday, May 18, 2020. Belgium is taking the next step in its relaxation of the coronavirus lockdown on Monday, with more students going to school, markets and museums reopening and the snip of a barber’s scissors filling the air again. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

ALLENDALE COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – The Allendale County School district will NOT require masks as it begins school this week.

In a Monday afternoon statement, Dr. Margaret Gilmore tells NewsChannel 6 the district recognized that a mask mandate per the South Carolina General Assembly is against the law.

Previously, in a video statement on social media, Dr. Gilmore told the community masks would be required.

She does, however, highly recommend them for all staff and students.

“Allendale County School District recognizes mask cannot be mandated per the SC General Assembly. All students and employees in Allendale County School District are not required to wear a mask when indoors in school settings, but a mask is highly recommended. Students are required to wear a mask on school buses.  August Community Meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 23, 2021 to reiterate this statement. “ 

Dr. Margaret Gilmore, Superintendent

South Carolina state school superintendent Molly Spearman has said that all school districts should follow the messaging from Governor Henry McMaster, that masks be optional for families sending their children back to school.

Allendale County Schools is taking an active part is making sure the community is vaccinated by holding a vaccine clinic for the public on August 20th from 8:30am-10:30 am in the gymnasium of the Allendale Fairfax High School.  Students and members of the public who received their vaccine at the July 31st back to school event will be receiving their second dose of vaccine at the elementary school on August 21st.

Earlier this month, Governor McMaster said government should not be forcing students to mask up.  He says, he has seen reports of younger children struggling with the masks when it comes to communication with their peers as well as with their teachers.  “They can’t see their teacher’s faces, the children can’t see each other’s faces,” McMaster said in August 9th press conference.

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The state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control contradicted the Governor’s statement saying, “they (masks) do not interfere with learning and have provided no barrier to socialization.”  DHEC is recommending masks to be worn indoors at schools as part of its COVID-19 safety guidance for the 2021-2022 school year.

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