Image from University of South Carolina website.

University of South Carolina interim President Harris Pastides released a statement Tuesday regarding the previous mask requirement he had put in place July 30. The mandate required the UofSC community to wear face coverings inside all university buildings, except dorm hall rooms and dining halls while eating.

According to Pastides, the university received a legal opinion from SC Attorney General Alan Wilson Monday, intending to prohibit public universities from requiring the wearing of masks in their buildings.

"In light of this opinion, the university will not require anyone to wear face coverings in our buildings, except when in the university health care facilities and when utilizing campus public transportation, effective August 3," Pastides wrote in a statement. "I deeply respect all persons' rights to make their own choices, and I respect our federal and state governments' roles in guiding our university."

University officials are still strongly encouraging the use of face coverings indoors, except in private offices, residence hall rooms, or while eating in campus dining facilities.

In regards to the mask requirement, Pastides said since vaccinations cannot be required in South Carolina, he felt face coverings would go a long way in preventing the Delta variant of COVID-19. He said he did not think the law precluded this action.

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