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Spartanburg District Seven adds limited mask rule to reduce quarantines

District Seven School Board

Spartanburg School District Seven trustees discuss COVID-19 safety in schools during a special called meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. Asia Rollins/staff

Spartanburg School District Seven approved a limited mask requirement for individual classrooms, schools and departments to cut down on mass quarantines during COVID-19 outbreaks.

The 5-4 decision was made during a special called school board meeting on Oct. 12.

In classrooms with three or more positive cases in a 14-day period, masks will be required. Students who do not want to wear a mask will have to quarantine.

Previously, students identified as close contacts by school nurses or the state Department of Health and Environmental Control had to quarantine for 10 days even if asymptotic. If three or more students in a class tested positive within a 14-day period, the whole class was sent home for quarantine.

“I believe it will help us keep more students in class,” board member Jeff Mason said. “I think that, in the end, is what everybody wants.”

The new rule does not call for a district-wide mask mandate. School officials plan to implement mask requirements and safety protocols as needed to accommodate students with disabilities.

Spartanburg School District Seven Superintendent Jeff Stevens hopes that the new rules will keep more students in school. Some students within the district have had to quarantine multiple times causing them to miss weeks of school.

On Oct. 12 there were 30 students and five staff members with COVID-19 in District Seven. There have been 409 cases in the district since the start of the school year.

Though the motion passed, some board members felt as though a full mask mandate would decrease the number of outbreaks in schools for an extended period of time.

“My first goal is to save the kids,” Sharon Porter said. “The numbers are low which is very good, but it may get higher, it may get lower and a mask mandate will not hurt at all.”

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Follow Asia Rollins on Twitter at @asiarollins98.

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