Florence 3 now requiring masks for students, staff and visitors

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LAKE CITY, S.C. (WBTW) — Florence School District Three is now requiring masks for all students, staff and visitors. This mandate has left many district parents with opinions.

One district parent sent News 13 the following statement in support of the masks:

“I would like to state I’m 100% in favor of a school mask mandate. My son is currently out of school now on a 10 day quarantine because someone’s child tested positive in his class. That means I also have to miss work while he’s missing valuable school time. Anti-mask parents don’t realize the hardship they’re causing by refusing for their kids to wear a mask for a few hours.”

While parent Michelle Brown says mask wearing presents challenges for her kids, especially the one that has asthma.

“I mean I want him to be able to breath and I want him to be able to breathe properly plus he also has a speech impediment. It’s really hard to understand him. Then you put a mask on and it’s almost impossible to understand him and he tends to shut down and doesn’t participate in class as much,” Brown said.

The mandate will be in place until further notice and will be reevaluated every week to determine if it is still needed. The decision for the mandate is based on the increasing numbers of students and staff testing positive for COVID-19 as well as those required to quarantine, in addition to SCDHEC and CDC guidelines.

According to district data, in August 150 students and staff tested positive for COVID-19, while 1,142 were quarantined due to exposure to the virus.

Masks also are required for school bus passengers, including students and adults. The SC Department of Education announced that it would begin enforcing the use of face coverings by students and staff on state-owned and –operated school buses starting August 30.

“The health and well-being of our students and staff are paramount,” FSD3 Superintendent Laura Hickson said. “It is important for us as a district to do everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to educate our children.”

The district says it will evaluate the situation weekly to determine how long the mandate will remain.

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