State News

Petition to Lift Ban on Mask Mandate for Schools

A petition to Gov. Henry McMasters was signed by several Pediatricians (the majority being from the Greenville area) to lift the ban on a mask mandate for schools. (Full Petition Here)

The petition sites that South Carolina shows the rate of daily cases is over 2,000 over the past week. But the number is actually only 2541 for the whole state. This report does not give any sort of breakdown for how many are children and how many are adults.

According to SCDHEC.GOV this number only represents 14.5% of positive cases within the last week that include 636 possible cases in the state.

Gov. McMasters response to this petition was, ““The law is the law, we must be careful, we must be smart, but parents know what’s best for the children,” Governor McMaster said “Under the state law, the school district can’t enforce such a mandate.” Ultimately stating that the parents should have the final decision and if they want the law to change.

The law in question is Proviso 1.108, which passed in June , which states , ““No school district, or any of its schools, may use any funds appropriated or authorized pursuant to this act to require that its students and/or employees wear a facemask at any of its education facilities.”

Some school districts such as Richland County and the City of Columbia have chosen to ignore the State Law even though they have been warned by the Attorney Generals Office of legal actions. While some have chosen to leave it up to the parents if their child wears a mask or not.

The law itself only prevents mandated mask requirements by school officials, which seems to be more the issue.

Patrick Kelly, Palmetto State Teachers Association Director for Government Affairs sites school districts quarantine levels of possible students who have come in contact with Covid-19. And Pickens County School Districts decision to go virtual for a week as reasons for lifting the ban.

“Governor McMaster’s position remains unchanged – a parent has the ultimate expertise when it comes to the health and safety of their families, and it should be a parent’s decision alone that determines whether their child wears a facemask at school,” McMaster spokesperson Brian Symmes said.

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