COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – In a statement Tuesday from University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides, officials confirmed the institution is no longer demanding the use of facemasks on campus.
The new decision comes four days after the university had initially said it would require face coverings.
On Friday, July 30th USC President Pastides announced the institution would require the use of facemasks indoors, citing high COVID-19 transmission rates in Richland County and updated CDC and DHEC guidance.
Pastides adds in his initial statement, “I’m confident that our Carolina family will do the right thing and take these measures seriously so that we can relax these requirements as soon as conditions allow.” Nevertheless, a legal opinion from S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson informed USC that state law prohibits public universities from demanding the wearing of masks in their buildings—prompting the institution to drop the rule.
USC officials say the “university will not require anyone to wear face coverings in [their] buildings, except when in university health care facilities and when utilizing campus public transportation, effective August 3.” In all other situations, donning a facemask indoors will remain a personal choice, and the institution opted to only “strongly encourage” their use.