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Masks Encouraged in Schools to Help Lower Mandatory Quarantine Numbers

Daniel Prince

Close-contact quarantines aren't required if student is wearing a mask

Eric Childers, Director of Administration with the Union County School District, made a video Friday for parents of students in Union County Schools. In it, he talked about the district’s current rate of COVID infections and quarantines, and he made the case to parents for asking or telling their students to wear masks at school.

Current DHEC quarantine guidelines call for the district to require close contacts of a student testing positive for COVID to be quarantined unless they are wearing a mask. A close contact is considered someone who is within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or longer in a 24-hour period. If a student is within three feet of the infected person, they would be quarantined regardless of whether they are wearing a mask. Childers said in most cases, three feet of space are maintained. Students wearing masks and staying at least three feet away from the student who tested positive are allowed to remain in school.

Childers said mask-wearing would dramatically decrease the number of students who would have to be quarantined, and it would help keep parents from having to arrange for childcare and be inconvenienced during that time. Childers shared the COVID data from the district from both the week before Christmas break and the first week back from break:

(audio below story)

Childers encouraged students to wear masks at least through the end of January, to hopefully turn the corner on the Omicron surge and keep more students in school.

Eric Childers on COVID and quarantine numbers
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