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SC teachers group calls for protest after McMaster’s school mask order

The teachers group SC for Ed, which participated in this massive protest at the State House in...
The teachers group SC for Ed, which participated in this massive protest at the State House in Columbia in May 2019, is calling for protests of the state's decision to drop mask requirements for state schools on Monday.(Live 5/File)
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 10:40 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The teachers group SC for Ed will protest South Carolina’s decision to drop mask mandates for schools.

The group scheduled a protest at locations across the state including the State House, the Governor’s Mansion, the South Carolina Department of Education headquarters and school district offices. The event, called the “Enough is Enough Protest,” is scheduled for 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday, according to the group’s website.

In a statement released Wednesday, the group called Gov. Henry McMaster’s executive order to prohibit mask ordinances and state Education Superintendent Molly Spearman’s decision to end the statewide school mask directive “the last in a long line of abuses against school staff by our state leaders.”

“It is time for teachers, school staff, and allies of public schools to speak with one voice,” the statement read.

Organizers discouraged unvaccinated people to participate in public protests, but asked them to contact their school boards, the governor’s office and the superintendent’s office.

But they are asking those who have been vaccinated to wear masks, socially distance and follow all safety regulations.

The group’s statement cited 11 other examples of what it calls abuses, including “the governor’s repeated attempts to pit the interests of public school staff against those of senior citizens and others,” “formal evaluations of school staff during a global pandemic,” “the requirement of teachers to return to work before having the option of being vaccinated” and “the legislature’s unnecessary freezing of teacher salary steps.”

READ MORE: Gov. McMaster allows parents to opt children out of face mask requirements at school

READ MORE: SC Superintendent pushes back but complies with Governor’s executive order

Spearman announced Wednesday she rescinded the mask requirement for schools after McMaster released his order directing the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control and the state’s Department of Education to provide a waiver for parents that would allow them to opt their children out of face mask requirements in the classroom.

“Rather than wage a debate over constitutionality that would pit elected officials, students, and families against one another, Superintendent Spearman has, effective immediately, rescinded the state face covering policy,” the SC Department of Education wrote in a leader to district leaders.

DHEC released the waiver for parents to download, sign and send to their child’s school on Wednesday.

The waiver also releases the school, the district, the Department of Education and DHEC “from any and all liability associated with the student not wearing a face covering.”

A student’s parent or legal guardian must sign the form to authorize their child to not wear a face covering while at school.

DHEC requires that parents with multiple children fill out a separate form for each child.

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