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SC House Dems call for emergency session to repeal ban on mask mandates in schools

The South Carolina House Democratic Caucus called on Gov. Henry McMaster to convene an...
The South Carolina House Democratic Caucus called on Gov. Henry McMaster to convene an emergency session of the General Assembly to repeal a temporary law that bans school districts from requiring masks in the classroom.(WCSC/WIS)
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 3:31 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina House Democratic Caucus called on Gov. Henry McMaster to convene an emergency session of the General Assembly to repeal a temporary law that bans school districts from requiring masks in the classroom.

“Local governments and school districts need to do what is necessary to protect public health in their communities,” House Democrats Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, said.

Lawmakers passed Proviso 1.108 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.”

Rutherford said the situation “changed for the worse” since the proviso’s passage and said lawmakers need to act immediately to repeal it.

“With the delta variant on the rise – and because all children under the age of 12 are unvaccinated – it will be disastrous if school districts do not take action,” he said.

Democratic lawmakers say that with the Pickens County School District moving to online instruction after a COVID-19 outbreak during their first month of school, more districts could face similar situations as the school year began.

Lowcountry school districts are welcoming students back to the classroom this week.

“The 43 members of the House Democratic Caucus believe that public health measures and mitigation efforts should be determined by local municipalities, because the pandemic and its impact varies by community,” caucus spokesman Jacob Gamble said.

The governor’s office released the following statement.

“As these members know, leaders of the General Assembly can call their respective bodies back to session for any reason that they would like. The governor’s position on masks in schools, however, has remained clear throughout the pandemic - 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.”

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