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Charleston Co. School District starts mandatory mask mandate

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:50 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2021 at 4:29 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District says they will start enforcing a mandatory mask mandate for all students, teachers, and staff inside schools.

The mask mandate starts Monday, but Charleston County School Board Chair Rev. Dr. Eric Mack says students will be given a reasonable opportunity to comply with the mandate. He says those who refuse to wear a mask will receive virtual instruction from home through at least October 15.

“Our intent is not to deprive any student of an education,” Mack said. “But, we cannot continue to allow unmasked persons in school settings where masked students who either cannot or have not been vaccinated are more at risk for the spread of COVID.”

The district has laid out a timeline for the mask enforcement and what happens to students who do not comply:

  • Monday: Conference held with the student to discuss Policy ADD and future steps for non-compliance. The student remains in the classroom. Verbal and written notice to the parent reinforcing that masks are required through October 15, 2021, in accordance with Board Policy ADD.
  • Tuesday: Students will be allowed to enter the building and will be escorted to the proctored location for virtual learning. Verbal and written notification that continued noncompliance of Policy ADD will result in the student not being permitted to attend school in person from Sept. 22 - Oct. 15 or as determined by the effective date of Policy ADD. *Parents/guardians of students with IEPs/504s will receive notification of a special review meeting.
  • Wednesday: Students will be sent home. Verbal and written notification to the parent that due to noncompliance of Policy ADD student is not permitted to attend school in person until Oct. 15 or as determined by the effective date of Policy ADD.
  • September 23-October 15: Students will be sent home. Verbal and written notification to the parent that due to noncompliance of Policy ADD student is not permitted to attend school in person from current date until Oct. 15 or as determined by the effective date of Policy ADD.

Mack says students with religious, medical, or developmental exemptions will still be able to attend class even if they’re not wearing a mask.

This mask requirement comes despite state law saying school districts cannot use state funds to enforce mask requirements.

Mack says the district plans to use reserve funds to pay for the salaries of those enforcing the mandate, not state funds.

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