Activists at SC State House protest lack of mask mandate in schools, urge more to get vaccinate

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — More than 12,000 people have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the state of South Carolina.

Even so, only 50 percent of the state is fully vaccinated and state law prohibits mask mandates in schools.

“Our children are sick. Our families are dying. I take this personally because I’m a mother and a grandmother,” said Dr. Sonya Lewis, public information officer for One Common Cause.

She and others after her implored the governor and state lawmakers to reconsider the ban on mask mandates in schools.

“If your child cannot wear a mask, then you keep your child at home and educate them yourself. You have the authority to do so. Let’s stop affecting or killing someone else’s child because you think your child is better than everyone else,” said Rev. Charles Glover, Charleston County school board member. “Everyone has rights. Stop using that as an excuse.”

One Marion County activist also encourages all unvaccinated residents to get the COVID 19 vaccine. She spoke out against misinformation people have been reading about the vaccine online.

“Since when do we make decisions like we’re doctors? The time to get vaccinated is now,” said speaker Miko Pickett.

Governor McMaster has stated that people who do not choose to get vaccinated or send their kids to school with masks have good reasons for their decisions, saying he is for personal choice instead of mandates.

The chair of one group says this stance is putting people’s lives at risk.

“It is a public health matter. It’s not a thing about freedoms. People are free to do whatever they like but in the case of our lives and the life of my granddaughter, they need to make sure public health is number one,” said Lawrence Moore, who serves as chair of the group Carolina for All.

The speakers admitted that there is hesitation to take the vaccine in the African-American community.

However, they urge everyone in the state to trust science and follow health guidelines when it comes to the pandemic.

“I’m seeing hospitals that are full,” Pickett said. “What has to happen? Does it have to be your child? What is going to bring this change?”

The speakers on Friday also believe that more COVID testing in schools is needed to pinpoint who is carrying the virus and needs to isolate or quarantine.

Categories: Local News, Richland