State education groups call on legislature to change proviso preventing districts from issuing mask mandates

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– State education groups are calling on the legislature to repeal or modify a budget proviso which prevents districts from issuing mask mandates. This morning, the South Carolina chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, South Carolina Association of School Nurses, South Carolina PTA, the South Carolina Education Association and Palmetto State Teachers Association released a joint statement.

They are calling on House Speaker Jay Lucas and Senate President Harvey Peeler to hold an emergency session of the legislature to do away with a budget proviso that prevents the districts from using state funds to enforce a mask mandate.

The statement says, in part, “Last year, local school districts were able to respond to local health conditions by taking actions aligned to district resources and capacities. As a result, the instances of COVID-19 in schools were extremely limited with far fewer students experiencing learning disruptions due to quarantine. Those results were achieved by local school districts implementing the mitigation strategies recommended by our public health authorities, including universal use of face masks.

This year, however, the capacity of districts to ensure student safety has been severely impaired by state-level policy decisions that were made at a time where public health conditions were substantially different—and better—than they are today.”

State lawmakers are scheduled to return for a special session next month, but the budget proviso is not on the agenda.

You can read the full statement here.

Categories: News, State