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Lexington-Richland 5 makes face masks optional in schools again

Vote was 5-2 to recommend wearing masks but make masks mandatory

LEXINGTON, S.C. — In a 5-2 vote, the Lexington-Richland Five Board of Trustees passed a resolution Monday night strongly recommending students and teachers wear a mask while not requiring them to do so.

This new policy went into effect Tuesday, May 11.

This is the district’s latest decision. Just last week, the board passed a similar measure making face masks optional in the classroom. But the board put that policy on hold just two days later to consult with attorneys after approximately 100 district employees threatened to sue.

RELATED: Repeal of Lexington-Richland 5 face mask rule put on hold for now

According to attorneys for Lexington-Richland Five, if a judge believes the district is not following the South Carolina Department of Education guidelines, the district could be subject to legal action.

During a board meeting Tuesday night that lasted for hours, parents and teachers in the district expressed sharply differing opinions on the subject.

“I feel that it is time for our children to be able to show their faces, and it’s time for our children to be able to have a normal school year – or at least the end of a normal school year,” said one parent, Kim

RELATED: Masks in schools: Where do SC districts stand?

“Almost through the school year, our students have had almost no stability throughout the course of the school year. I don’t see any reason at the end of the school year to throw more chaos into their lives – especially right before testing,” said a district teacher, Kristin

With less than 30 days left in the school year, the district’s attorney said the district could be sued if they don’t adhere to the state department’s guidelines.

She also said that it is also possible for the district to be sued by those who do not want to wear a mask.

The district said it will implement COVID mitigation procedures, including social distancing, sanitation, and masks on school buses.

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