University of South Carolina officials retract from demanding use of facemasks indoors

State - Regional

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – In a statement Tuesday from University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides, officials confirmed the institution is no longer demanding the use of facemasks on campus.

The new decision comes four days after the university had initially said it would require face coverings

On Friday, July 30th USC President Pastides announced the institution would require the use of facemasks indoors, citing high COVID-19 transmission rates in Richland County and updated CDC and DHEC guidance.  

Pastides adds in his initial statement, “I’m confident that our Carolina family will do the right thing and take these measures seriously so that we can relax these requirements as soon as conditions allow.” Nevertheless, a legal opinion from S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson informed USC that state law prohibits public universities from demanding the wearing of masks in their buildings—prompting the institution to drop the rule. 

Please confirm that the University will now not require campus-wide wearing of masks”  

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson in a letter to President Pastides

USC officials say the “university will not require anyone to wear face coverings in [their] buildings, except when in university health care facilities and when utilizing campus public transportation, effective August 3.” In all other situations, donning a facemask indoors will remain a personal choice, and the institution opted to only “strongly encourage” their use. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories