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Defying South Carolina law, York District 1 votes for indoor mask requirements

The new rules go into effect Sept. 1 and come as the debate about school mask mandates keeps heating up.
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YORK, S.C. — Despite a ban on school mask mandates in South Carolina, York School District 1 has voted to enact indoor mask requirements across its campuses effective Wednesday, Sept. 1.

The district's Board of Trustees met on Monday, Aug. 30 to discuss the possibility of mask requirements, saying there were rising COVID-19 cases in the district. This led to three separate votes according to an online statement: to uphold the state Department of Education's directive requiring masks on all school buses, to require all school visitors mask up indoors, and to require all students and staff to wear a mask while inside district buildings.

RELATED: Multiple sides argue for, against school mask mandates at SC Supreme Court

All three measures were passed with unanimous votes. Students are encouraged to bring their own masks, but the district will provide them if a student doesn't have their own. Additionally, students will not be turned away if they don't bring a mask of their own, and the board says no state funds are being used to enforce the requirement.

A spokesperson for the district told WCNC Charlotte families needing a medical exemption from masks will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must provide documentation from a treating physician for consideration.

The board will meet again to revisit the requirements on Oct. 14, 2021.

York 1 is the latest school district to defy the proviso of South Carolina's state budget that bans schools from enforcing mask mandates with state funds. Chester County School District's board voted 6-1 in favor of a mask mandate on Monday, Aug. 30.

RELATED: Chester County Schools institutes mask policy, defying SC law

The ban on school mask mandates in South Carolina has prompted praise from anti-mandate parties and ire from those in favor of mask requirements. South Carolina is also one of five states under federal investigation because of the mandate ban.

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