AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — Masks will no longer be required on South Carolina school buses., including Aiken County School District buses. In Aiken County, they are optional for all employees. It will be up to the parents and guardians when it comes to students, according to school leaders.

On Tuesday, July 6, the South Carolina State Department of Education changed its guidance to school districts regarding the mandatory mask policy on school buses.

Superintendent King Laurence says while the school district will follow the guidance from the SCDE making face coverings optional on all buses for employees with parental discretion for students, all students and staff are still encouraged to wear masks on buses.

“We still believe the wearing of face coverings on our District’s school buses to be in the best interests of public health so we will continue to recommend that our students and staff wear them on our school buses,” Superintendent Laurence, said in a news release.

A federal government mask mandate for bus drivers and students had been in effect previously, but relaxed federal mandates and South Carolina General Assembly legislation created an opportunity for state educational officials to revisit the mandatory mask policy on buses.

The South Carolina Department of Education memorandum can be read here.