WEST COLUMBIA, SC -- The temporary emergency mask requirement in Lexington Two schools has expired.
It is worth noting that, even with the expiration in district schools and offices, masks will still be required for school bus riders, in keeping with a federal health requirement.
The district will also continue to follow quarantine procedures as provided by DHEC. DHEC has illustrated scenarios to assist schools and families to best understand their quarantine procedures. As seen in these illustrated scenarios, the only scenario where the quarantine numbers are significantly reduced is where all of the students are wearing masks.
In the meantime, the district’s “5% Rule” for moving a school to remote learning will remain in effect, which requires that a school building temporarily move to remote learning when 5% of its student population is a positive case. A school can be moved prior to reaching the 5% threshold, if, for example, the school sees a significant increase in positive cases within a short time. Another component in determining whether to close a school is staffing.
Lexington Two board members made the decision to enact a temporary mask requirement at their monthly meeting on September 2, with the measure running through October 31. It was made amid an escalating number of COVID-19 positive and quarantine cases at the time among students and staff. At its October 19 meeting, the board let the mask requirement expire.
Superintendent Dr. Nicolas Wade told board members that it may be necessary to revisit the mask issue in the future, should COVID positives and quarantines spike again.
On the day before the board approved the temporary mask requirement in September, there were a total of 189 active positive students and 1,486 quarantined students, based on a population of around 8,700 students. At that time there were also four schools and a number of classrooms in remote learning due to the high quarantine numbers.
By the end of the day Tuesday, October 19, there were a total of seven active positive students and 64 quarantined students. All schools have continued to be in session and no schools moved to remote learning in over a month.
While masks are no longer required in district schools and offices, Lexington Two still encourages mask use, in alignment with health guidance.