Columbia, S.C. -The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the South Carolina Department of Education are joining forces to create and promote vaccine awareness and immunization opportunities for parents, students, and staff for the 2021-22 school year.

Across South Carolina there is a dramatic rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases, and schools and the activities surrounding them will present even more exposure opportunities for our children. The best way to protect the health of our children and loved ones is to get vaccinated, especially children aged 12-19 who will be in the closest contact with one another.

DHEC and the CDC also recommend that children and adults should wear a mask in public indoor spaces, including schools, even if they are fully vaccinated. There are additional tips on CDC’s website for families with vaccinated and unvaccinated members.

Vaccination events are being held and scheduled around the state focusing on back-to-school events and high school sports. So far, 14 such events have been held, seven of those at schools, and a total of 395 doses have been administered. To find a local vaccine provider near you, go to

“Getting eligible children vaccinated is a top public health priority as we start a new school year,” said Dr. Edward Simmer, DHEC director. “The COVID delta variant we’re tracking now is highly contagious, and the best way to prevent your child or a loved one from getting sick or requiring hospitalization is by being fully vaccinated and wearing a mask indoors when at school.”

DHEC and the S.C. Department of Education are committed to you and your child’s health, welfare and success. To better allow parents, students, and staff to track new school-related cases, DHEC will resume updating the “Staff & Student Cases” page on its website. It also recently updated the COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids 12 and Older web page.

“South Carolina’s students and educators deserve to teach and learn in a safe environment,” said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. “Getting vaccinated, wearing a face mask, and following the proper mitigation strategies will allow us to have the most uninterrupted, normal school year possible.”

DHEC’s official COVID-19 safety guidance for the 2021-22 school year is available on the website, which recommends universal indoor masking in schools and other safety measures. Masks are safe, do not interfere with learning and have provided no barrier to socialization.

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