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South Carolina

Almost All SC Students Head Back To School This Week

By the end of this week, almost all of South Carolina's 760,000 public school students will be back in classes.

More than 60 districts — including the state's largest — get the school year started with openings scattered from Monday to Thursday.

At the end of the week, Union County students will be the only ones left on summer break. They start back Aug. 23.

It's another very different school year. Many schools are welcoming students back in person after the 2020-21 school year saw massive disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

School leaders have said students and teachers are welcome to wear masks, but they can’t mandate them even with another spike in COVID-19 cases. They also can’t require vaccines for students who are eligible for the shots.

The South Carolina General Assembly put a rule in this year’s state budget prohibiting districts from requiring masks. It passed in June before the current massive increase in COVID-19 cases started. Gov. Henry McMaster agrees that parents should choose if students wear masks.

Lawmakers also put a rule in the budget that school districts will start losing significant funding if more than 5% of their students choose to go to classes virtually.

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