BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Students in Berkeley County returned to class Tuesday following the winter break. But unlike neighboring districts, the county has not made any changes to its COVID-19 prevention policies, like requiring masks for students and staff.

Some students and several parents were excited about schools returning this week.

“We are excited today to welcome our students back,” said Katie Tanner, a spokeswoman for the district. “We hope everybody enjoyed their holidays, but we missed our students.”

The Berkeley County School District has decided to strongly encourage mask use, but not mandate masks in the classroom.

“We will continue to receive information from DHEC and monitor developments, but at this time, we’re continuing the procedures that we’ve had in place since the pandemic began,” said Tanner.

“I think the best thing with this covid thing is to get the politicians out of it,” said Tom Perry, whose grandkids attend school in Berkeley County. “Let the parents and the doctors do their job.”

Perry went on to say, “if kids want to wear a mask, wear it. If they don’t, you know, they shouldn’t have to wear it.”

Tanner said they ask students and staff members to monitor their symptoms. “We sent out a list of symptoms and we have some information on our website, and if you are getting tested that you isolate at home until you receive those test results.”

Berkeley County will have new updated COVID-19 numbers for their schools which is based on information gathered Tuesday – It will be posted on the district’s website.