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SC Supreme Court rules ban on mask mandates in schools is constitutional

But school districts may still decide whether to impose mask mandates
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 11:01 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2021 at 12:23 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS/WCSC) - The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that the ban on mask mandates in schools is constitutional. That ban came in the form of a temporary law, known as a proviso, that state lawmakers passed on June 22 with the state budget.

Proviso 1.108 blocked school districts from enacting a face mask mandate on students and faculty members in its facilities.

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked that ban on mask mandates.

In the state Supreme Court’s ruling, the justices said while the proviso prohibits school districts from using funds appropriated or authorized under the state budget, they “do not reject the possibility that other funds might be used to do so.”

“We decline to give the School District advisory guidance as to its options and obligations regarding virtual education,” the judgment states, thereby leaving the school districts to determine on their own whether they will impose mask mandates.

Charleston County School Board Chairman Dr. Eric Mack released the following statement late Thursday morning:

Given the fact that we now have a federal judge’s order and a State Supreme Court ruling that appear to offer differing opinions, CCSD will take what we believe to be the most prudent route and continue enforcing our facemask policy without using any state funds that are restricted by the state budget proviso.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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