The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) will once again enforce the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s order that requires the use of face coverings by students and staff on all ,state-owned and operated school buses.
In July, the SCDE announced it no longer enforced the use of face masks in public transportation including school buses. However, in a Thursday press release, the SCDE changed its mind. It reported that all districts will once again require the use of face masks on buses no later than Aug. 30.
“Throughout the pandemic, the SCDE has updated its COVID-19 guidance as conditions have changed and as more information has become available,” the SCDE press release states. “It has become apparent based on COVID-19 data being reported by schools along with increasing levels of the highly transmissible Delta variant in local communities, that more protective measures are needed to lower the risk of virus transmission and keep our schools open and operating as safely as possible.”
SCDE will equip every state-owned school bus with the appropriate supplies that meet the CDC’s requirements. Bus drivers must offer face masks to students who are not wearing one instead of denying them transportation, the release states.
The SCDE added that face masks can be either manufactured or homemade, but they should completely cover the nose and mouth. Masks can be reusable, disposable or have inner filter pockets if they are secure to the head without slits, exhalations valves and punctures.
Scarves, ski masks and bandanas will not be accepted since they do not meet the CDC’s requirements. A driver does not need to wear a mask if they are alone inside the bus, SCDE added.
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