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Charleston County School Board votes to require masks for students, staff inside school facilities

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7:43 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2021 at 5:28 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Masks will be required for students and staff at Charleston County school facilities through Oct. 15.

The school board voted 8-1 Monday night on the motion which requires masks for public schools for at least 60 days.

Board member Cindy Bohn Coats voted no on the issue and said that it would be tough to enforce the mandate.

“We implemented a mask requirement at the beginning of the school year for the next 60 days so that we can not become a super spreader in our school, and have safety measures in place for our teachers and staff, and visitors that enter our buildings,” School Board Chair Rev. Dr. Eric Mack said following the vote.

According to Mack, Monday night’s vote came from discussion during executive session with medical advice and legal advice as well as moving forward “with the best course of action” the board can take.

“I understand there are a number of parents that are not in favor of the mask, but we have a responsibility to make sure all of our staff and students are safe at the beginning of the school year,” Mack said.

The General Assembly has passed a budget provision banning school districts from requiring students and teachers to wear masks.

Educators, lawmakers, doctors, and parents are writing letters, signing petitions, and showing up to meetings to express their concern with the lack of mask mandates at South Carolina public schools. However, the Gov. Henry McMaster says what many are asking him to do isn’t within his power.

“The law is the law, we must be careful, we must be smart, but parents know what’s best for the children,” McMaster said on Monday. “Under the state law, the school district can’t enforce such a mandate.”

McMaster’s says he doesn’t have the authority to suspend Proviso 1.108, which passed in June when lawmakers passed the state budget.

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