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SC governor to appeal ruling to block school face mask ban

Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 1:50 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 1, 2021 at 4:44 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. McMaster talked to rotary club members at Bessinger’s BBQ in Charleston on the same day the State Supreme Court ruled that the ban on mask mandates in schools is constitutional. He stressed the importance of keeping kids in school, while also keeping them “healthy” and “happy.”

McMaster upheld his belief that parents should decide whether or not students should wear masks in schools.

“Parents know how their children learn and what is good for them much better than the government does,” he said. “The government doesn’t know but the parents do. The parents ought to have the final word on masks and other things as well.”

He shared a message to parents who have children in school.

“I think they need to be careful. They need to understand that the virus is still there,” McMaster said. “Of course they know how important an education is. We’ve learned in vivid detail how virtual learning education is sometimes not any education at all.”

McMaster stressed that it’s important to keep kids in school. He also had a message for school districts, offering them more ways to keep kids safe.

“What I would encourage all the school districts to do is not just to settle on one or two different ways to keep them safe, we have a whole variety in addition to the vaccines and masks,” McMaster said. “There are a lot of things that nobody objects to.”

McMaster also said that some, but not all school districts are taking all the steps possible to keep kids safe in school. The governor said that includes proper ventilation, social distancing, shields, and temperature checks.

McMaster filed an emergency motion Thursday asking an appeals court to halt a lower court’s decision to allow school districts to impose mask mandates.

McMaster’s motion asks the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay a district court’s injunction against Proviso 1.108. That proviso, a temporary law passed with the state budget, essentially blocked school districts from requiring students and faculty members from wearing masks at school facilities by prohibiting state funds from being used to do so.

McMaster commented on the court’s decision Wednesday.

“I completely disagree with a federal judge temporarily blocking parents from choosing if their child should wear a mask in school,” he said after the ruling. “We have already filed a notice of appeal and will take this fight to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”

The South Carolina Department of Education released guidance to school districts after the ruling saying they could set mask mandates.

“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 department’s message to districts stated.

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