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O’Malley says district will no longer require face coverings
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O’Malley says district will no longer require face coverings

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Dr. Richard O’Malley speaks at a Florence One Schools board meeting in March.

FLORENCE, S.C. – Florence One Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley issued a statement Wednesday night in response to an executive order that South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued Tuesday regarding masks.

In essence, O’Malley said the district will get with the program as restrictions are relaxed.

“(F1S) will no longer require face coverings in or out of school-operated facilities for staff or students,” O’Malley said in the statement.

“The Florence One School District is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy teaching and learning environment throughout all of its schools,” the statement began. “We believe over the past year that we have managed the unprecedented global pandemic in a professional and efficient manner focused on healthy and safe learning environments and parental choice in learning modalities.

“Yesterday, Governor McMaster issued Executive Order #2021-23. The order states that he encourages all individuals within the State of South Carolina who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear a face covering and further defined herein, in public settings where they are, will be, or reasonably could be located in close proximity to others who are not members of the same household and where it is not feasible to maintain six (6) feet of separation from such individuals or to otherwise practice effective “social distancing” in accordance with CDC and DHEC guidance. …

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“The order also prohibits any political subdivision of this state from promulgating guidelines regarding the use of face coverings by its employees or in government offices, buildings, and facilities that are consistent with guidance from DHEC or from implementing appropriate measures or undertaking efforts to “reasonably adhere to public health guidance” for purposes of the South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Immunity ACT (R-39, S147).

“Furthermore, the order directed DHEC, in consultation with the State Superintendent to develop and distribute a standardized form for the parent, guardian, legal custodian, foster care provider, or other representative authorized to provide consent for or on behalf of a student in any public school in the state of South Carolina to opt out a student from a face covering requirement imposed by any public school official or public school district pertaining to school operations and facilities.

“In addition, State Superintendent Molly Spearman announced today, that effective immediately, she rescinded the state face covering policy with the exception of the school bus requirement that is now required by the United States Federal Government.

“Therefore, Florence 1 Schools (F1S) will continue to encourage students and staff to wear face coverings while in school in order to follow the public health guidance previously issued by DHEC and the CDC. However, (F1S) will no longer require face coverings in or out of school-operated facilities for staff or students based upon the Governor’s Executive Order and the rescinding of the State face covering policy by Superintendent Spearman.

“The district is requesting that all parents fill out the form below electronically. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.

“Richard O'Malley, Ed.D”


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FLORENCE, S.C. – Two Florence One high schools will have at least one new assistant principal next year. The Florence One Schools Board of Trustees approved administratively recommended new hires during its June 17 board meeting. “We are happy to have all of these administrators coming on board,” said Florence 1 Schools Superintendent Richard O’Malley. “Administrators play a vital role in our school community and we look forward to the fresh ideas they will bring to their schools and the district.”

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DARLINGTON, S.C. – Five graveyards have been found on a property located north of Florence in Darlington County. Brian Gandy, director of the Darlington County Historical Commission, and Jim Frederick, a professor at Clemson University, announced Monday that they used historic records, old maps and aerial photographs and site exploration to relocate five graveyards at the Clemson University Pee Dee Research and Education Center which is located adjacent to Dargans Pond near the Pee Dee River. 

FLORENCE, S.C. – The leadership of Florence One Schools will mostly remain the same. The school district's board of trustees voted unanimously last Thursday evening upon the motion of Chairman Porter Stewart to give Dr. Richard O'Malley an "extremely effective" evaluation for recently ended school year. Stewart's motion also included at one-time bonus of $15,000 and amends to O'Malley's contract to extend it until June 30, 2024 and beginning next month to have the district make O'Malley's retirement contribution to the state retirement program. 

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