Charleston County School District votes to enforce mask requirements
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District’s Board of Trustees on Monday voted to begin enforcing the district’s mask requirements.
During a special called board meeting, Board Chair Rev. Dr. Eric Mack said the board believes it can enforce the policy without using funds that would run afoul of a state budget proviso prohibiting mask mandates.
Details of what the enforcement will look like are still being worked out and are expected by the end of the week.
Enforcement on the policy is set to begin on Monday and continue through Oct. 15.
The vote passed 8-0, with board member Cindy Bohn Coats abstaining.
Following the vote, the board released the following statement in regard to the mandate and its enforcement:
“The CCSD Board of Trustees has mandated and will now ENFORCE the wearing of facemasks in all CCSD schools and buildings. This mandate and enforcement are for ALL persons on district property or on district transportation. It is our intent to enforce this policy without using funds appropriated by the 2021-2022 General Appropriations Act, which in our opinion, will keep us in compliance with State Budget Proviso 1.108. The mandate’s compliance will commence on September 20, 2021, and at this time, conclude on October 15, 2021. Accordingly, the Board will affirm the conclusion date before October 15 and reserves the opportunity to make changes depending on the COVID-19 transmission rate in our school communities. It remains our collective opinion that wearing facemasks in school is an essential health and safety measure. Just that simple act of each of us will help prevent severe illness or death from COVID and reduce the number of students who are forced to quarantine. The Board hopes that the COVID transmission rate will diminish between now and October 15. It is also our hope that everyone complies with the mask requirement for the greater good of all. We will plan to come before you again later this week with additional details.”
The board voted last month to require masks at school facilities through mid-October, but there were no penalties put in place for students who did not wear masks because of the budget proviso.
Last week, the federal government announced it will provide extra money to districts that have state funding withheld.
A draft of the proposed policy updates online ahead of the meeting would allow Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait to go out and ask for that money if the state withholds its share.
The board also unanimously approved a resolution calling on state lawmakers to repeal the budget proviso.
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