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SC health department releases face mask waiver for students

South Carolina health and education officials say despite Gov. Henry McMaster's calls to end...
South Carolina health and education officials say despite Gov. Henry McMaster's calls to end face mask requirements, residents should "stay the course" and continue wearing face coverings.(Storyblocks)
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 12:15 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has released the form parents can sign to allow their children to ignore face mask rules in the classroom.

Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order Tuesday afternoon requiring DHEC and the state’s Department of Education to make the waivers available after parents across the state demanded an end to face covering requirements in schools.

The two-page form states, in part:

DHEC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided guidance stating that the wearing of face coverings slows the spread of COVID-19. Failure to wear a face covering may subject a student to an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading COVID-19 to others.

The waiver also releases the school, the district, the Department of Education and DHEC “from any and all liability associated with the student not wearing a face covering.”

A student’s parent or legal guardian must sign the form to authorize their child to not wear a face covering while at school.

DHEC requires that parents with multiple children fill out a separate form for each child.

“We have known for months that our schools are some of the safest places when it comes to COVID-19,” McMaster said in a statement Tuesday on his executive order. “With every adult in our state having the opportunity to receive a vaccine, it goes against all logic to continue to force our children – especially our youngest children – to wear masks against their parents’ wishes.”

Whether a child wears a mask in school is a decision that should be left only to parents, the governor said.

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