PICKENS COUNTY, SC (FOX Carolina) The School District of Pickens County confirmed Monday that the new school year will begin on August 24, as well as addressed a common question regarding masks as they prepare for students to come back to school.
Last month, the school district released a plan for the first six weeks of school - which includes students participating in face-to-face instruction four out of the six weeks.
The district will continue to monitor the level of COVID-19 in the community, and will develop a plan for the second six weeks of school. They hope to get that plan out to parents, students and teachers by September 21.
Also Monday, the school district addressed a common question regarding masks. Initially, their requirement for masks would have allowed for students to wear shields as an alternative to masks.
However, a new statewide mask requirement means that schools must follow CDC guidance regarding face coverings. The South Carolina Department of Education Face Covering Guidelines state the following:
Clear face coverings are not face shields. The CDC does NOT recommend use of face shields for normal everyday activities or as a substitute for cloth face coverings because of a lack of evidence of their effectiveness for source control.
Therefore, face shields may only be used as an additional layer of protection with a mask or as additional protection when at least six feet of social distance can be maintained. This will apply to both students and staff.
The school district says exceptions for masks and shields will be respected when a doctor's note is provided. Should there be any change in guidance on the issue, officials will notify staff, parents and students as quickly as possible.