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Judge’s ruling allows S.C. schools to mandate masks, SC ed. dept. says

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 1:53 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 29, 2021 at 5:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Education issued guidance to schools on Wednesday after the U.S. District Court issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of a condition in the state budget.

“In light of the Court’s ruling, the SCDE strongly suggests schools and districts consult with their legal counsel on actionable steps that may need to be taken to make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities under these federal laws,” the release states.

A federal judge issued the injunction on Tuesday stating that the budget proviso prohibiting districts from enforcing mask mandates at the risk of losing state funding, discriminates against children with disabilities.

The department of education says the immediate effects of the order are school districts being unable to enforce Proviso 1.108 and districts having “discretionary authority” to require masks.

Under the American Rescue Plans Act, school districts who received emergency relief funding were required to create and post a plan for the safe return to instruction that required them to address each of the CDC’s recommendations on COVID-19 spread, including the universal wearing off masks.

“Those districts that made reference to Proviso 1.108 as the rationale for not following the CDC’s recommendations in their plan will need to revise their plans immediately as a result of the Court’s order,” the release states.

Officials with the state department of education say they will continue to monitor other actions taken by the judicial system and adjust their guidance accordingly.

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