Horry County Schools giving parents choice on whether child will wear mask in classroom

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 7:24 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C (WMBF) – Parents with Horry County Schools will now be able to decide whether their child will wear a mask in the classroom.

The district announced that it will move forward with an opt-out form created by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

It was created after Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order on Tuesday, stating that parents should have authority to decide if their child will wear a mask in school. He directed DHEC and the South Carolina Department of Education to create the opt-out form.

On Wednesday, South Carolina Superintendent Molly Spearman rescinded the state’s face covering policy in schools. The only exception is that masks must still be worn on school buses because it is required by the federal government.

The move left districts deciding what to do with their own face mask requirements.

Horry County Schools said after a thorough review of McMaster’s executive order by its general counsel, they are moving forward with allowing parents to opt their child out of wearing a mask in the classroom.

In order for the opt-out procedure to take effect as soon as possible, schools will begin accepting DHEC’s opt-out form starting Thursday. Those who are over 18 can sign the form without parental consent.

OPT-OUT FORM | Click here for DHEC’s opt-out form for masks in schools

Horry County Schools said it is aware that some parents may be concerned about the removal of the mask mandate and that they may not want their child to attend school due to the changes.

The district said it will allow parents to opt for their students to work independently from home for the remainder of the school year. The student’s work will be assigned and submitted through Google Classroom or SeeSaw.

Parents who want their child to work from home must submit a request to their school’s principal in writing, either through an email or hard copy, by Monday, May 17.

Also, state-required assessments must be done in a classroom. But the district said students will not be penalized if their parents do not feel it is safe for them to report to their brick-and-mortar school to complete the assessment.

Horry County Schools employees also will not be required to wear face masks due to the decision by the state Department of Education. School bus drivers are the only ones still required to wear masks.

The district is still encouraging students and employees to continue wearing face masks, maintain social distancing and wash their hands.

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