Masks optional as kids return to class

COUNTY — After face coverings were mandated for the majority of last year and amid a spike in COVID-19 cases around the county and state thanks to the virus’ delta variant, students in the School District of Pickens County returned to this classroom this week with masks optional on school buses and in school buildings for students and teachers.

A seven-page guidance issued by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) featured nine layered prevention strategies the state agency deemed “essential to safe delivery of in-

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